"Hezbollah are absolute masters at identifying existing smuggling infrastructures. I don't care if it's along our southwest border if it's in north Africa, on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border; they are masters at identifying those existing infrastructures. Hezbollah is developing relations with those responsible for operating those smuggling operations and then forming close relations with them, so that they can move anything they have an interest into virtually anywhere in the world." That comment comes from former DEA Chief of Operations Mike Braun. He goes on to tell me that the Middle East terror group is "rubbing shoulders" with drug cartels around the globe. My military and Department of Homeland Security contacts are insistent…it's not if Hezbollah operatives have been smuggled into the U.S….but how many? They note that drug tunnels are becoming much more sophisticated and striking similar as tunnels being used by terror organizations to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. My contacts also say they have real concern that bombing techniques used in the Middle East to promote terror are now also being used inside Mexico, as the cartels war with each other and anyone in their way.
This comes as Mexican authorities busted a senior Hezbollah operative who employed Mexicans nationals with family ties to Lebanon to set up the network, designed to target Israel and the West, according to multiple reports. The man's name is Jameel Nasr and he was arrested after a Mexican surveillance operation revealed that he traveled frequently to Lebanon to receive information and instructions from Hezbollah commanders and he also spent several months in Venezuela working with the terror group and Hugo Chavez's people.
Meantime, over this past weekend President Calderon of Mexico sent a significant number of troops to the border regions and while they are there to help battle the cartels, they have also been sent to deal with the growing connection to Hezbollah. As one contact told me, "Mexico knows the seriousness of a cartel connection with Hezbollah and the threat to their national security."
We also know from DHS documents that over 180,000 illegal aliens from countries Other than Mexico were apprehended from 2007 through mid-March 2010 and the State Department Country Reports on Terrorism said that "smuggling rings have been detected moving people from East Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia". I am told these people and drugs are then moved up through Central America and into the Unites States through Mexico.
Congressman Connie Mack chairs the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and says, "I think the question that we all have to ask is, when the terrorist come into Latin America, when they move into Mexico, how many have come into the United States? Our government doesn't know the answer to that question. That should make all of us very fearful."
The Congressman is critical of the Administrations response to this increased threat, "What are we going to do to secure our border step one and step two what are we going to do to confront the drug cartels in Hezbollah from continuing to create a force inside Mexico that will destabilize the United States?"
In response to this story, I contacted DHS and various departments within the administration. To be fair, they are obviously not going to give up information on operations or threats that they are working to eliminate, however, we didn't get much in feedback about our story, or in a way of a statement. I did have testimony forwarded to me from Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela from February 15th where he acknowledges the threat to American security and says the U.S. will continue to assist in the region's need to combat drug trafficking and transnational crime.