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US Team to Investigate ‘Hezbollah’s’ Financing, Narcotics Trade

US Team to Investigate ‘Hezbollah’s’ Financing, Narcotics Trade

Friday, 12 January, 2018 - 06:30
Hezbollah supporters. (AFP)

The US Justice Department announced on Thursday the creation of a special task force to investigate those who provide financial support to “Hezbollah” in an effort to restrict its flow of money and disrupt its international drug trafficking operations.

The Department said in a statement that the team would include experienced international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime and money laundering prosecutors.

“Investigators are tasked with investigating individuals and networks providing support to Hezbollah, and pursuing prosecutions in any appropriate cases,” it added.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department “will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis.”

Sessions added that his team would initiate prosecutions to restrict the flow of money to foreign terrorist organizations, as well as disrupt violent international drug trafficking operations.

“In an effort to protect Americans from both threats, the Justice Department will assemble leading investigators and prosecutors to ensure that all Project Cassandra investigations, as well as other related investigations, whether past or present, are given the needed resources and attention to come to their proper resolution,” he continued.

According to US sources, Washington’s step comes in the framework of its escalatory pressures to stop the spread of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and to restrict “Hezbollah’s” military powers in the region.

Thursday’s announcement also follows criticism against the administration of former President Barack Obama, who dropped a probe into “Hezbollah’s” drug trafficking operations for fear of jeopardizing the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

On Wednesday, former top Treasury Department sanctions official, Juan Zarate, told a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “Hezbollah’s” drug smuggling and money laundering operations are global in scale.

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