Islamic extremists embedded in the United States — posing as Hispanic nationals — are partnering with violent Mexican drug gangs to finance terror networks in the Middle East, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration report.
“Since drug traffickers and terrorists operate in a clandestine environment, both groups utilize similar methodologies to function … all lend themselves to facilitation and are among the essential elements that may contribute to the successful conclusion of a catastrophic event by terrorists,” said the confidential report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.
The 2005 report outlines an ongoing scheme in which multiple Middle Eastern drug-trafficking and terrorist cells operating in the U.S. fund terror networks overseas, aided by established Mexican cartels with highly sophisticated trafficking routes.
These terrorist groups, or sleeper cells, include people who speak Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew and, for the most part, arouse no suspicion in their communities.
“It is very likely that any future ‘September 11th’ type of terrorist event in the United States may be facilitated, wittingly or unwittingly, by drug traffickers operating on both sides of the United States-Mexico border,” the DEA report says.
Rep. Ed Royce of California, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs terrorism and nonproliferation subcommittee, said the DEA document substantiates information that his committee has been given in the past year.
“Hearings I held in Laredo [Texas] last year and this DEA report show that our southern border is a terrorist risk,” Mr. Royce said. “Law enforcement has warned that people from Arab countries have crossed the border and adopted Hispanic surnames. The drug cartels have highly sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering networks, which terrorists could access.”
Garrison K. Courtney, spokes- man for the DEA, would not comment on the document. However, he said that the DEA, which has only 5,000 active agents worldwide, is sharing information with other U.S. intelligence agencies and working closely with local law enforcement.