Here is the first in my series of “Reports from America” where I cover issues affecting the US that you probably won’t hear about in Britain. As you probably already know America’s southern border with Mexico is porous, allowing in tens of thousands of illegal immigrants every year. However this boarder is more than just an entry point for Mexican drug cartels and people traffickers — the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has been smuggling drugs and people into the US as well.
Hezbollah has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America, and is now using the same routes into the US that the Mexican cartels use for smuggling, according to a report in The Washington Times.
The group relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers, and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who recently retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He goes on to say that “They work together. They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.”
“The Mexican cartels have no loyalty to anyone,” another official told the Times. “They will willingly or unknowingly aid other nefarious groups’ [entry] into the US through the routes they control. It has already happened. That’s why the border is such a serious national security issue.”
Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, funds its operations in part from drug smuggling, people trafficking and other criminal enterprises. One such Hezbollah operative was Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, who was arrested in 2002 for smuggling 200 people, including Hezbollah supporters, into the US
Adm. James Stavridis, commander of US Southern Command, recently told a House committee that the connection between drug traffickers and “Islamic radical terrorism” is a growing threat to the US Braun said members of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been operating in South America and “could be commanding and controlling Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises from there.” And a senior US defence official said that in addition to Hezbollah, al-Qaida could also use the Mexican cartels’ trafficking routes to smuggle operatives into the US
The boarder is a major problem and needs to be secured now! The drug wars between the Mexican cartels have claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people since January 2008, and have destabilized the Mexican government as it continues to fail in dealing with the threat. The Mexican boarder strip is lawless and effectively a failed state within a state. It has the potential to become like the tribal areas in Pakistan, and under these conditions terrorists could use the region as a launch pad into the US to carry out acts of terrorism there. All this has prompted President Barack Obama to send additional agents there and to promise additional funding and help for the Mexican government in its fight against the cartels.