RealNews

Radicals' Links to Drugs Provoking U.S. Concerns

A recent arrest in Paraguay is raising concern on Capitol Hill about links between the radical Hezbollah group and drug trafficking in South America. Police in Asuncion arrested a relative of Assad Ahmad Barakat, the chief of Hezbollah in South America, with about five pounds of cocaine hidden in an electric piano that he allegedly intended to smuggle into Syria. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought up the arrest in a hearing this week that examined links between drug trafficking and international terrorism. The arrest of Barakat’s relative, Hatch said, demonstrated “the narco-terrorist financing operations needed to support Barakat and Hezbollah.” News reports in Paraguay said drug agents arrested Hassan Abdallah Dayoub, 47, at Asuncion’s airport on May 10 as he attempted to board a flight to Buenos Aires, where he was to connect to a flight to Madrid and then onto Damascus, Syria. Dayoub, a Lebanese national, told Paraguayan police that he picked up the piano from a colleague without knowing its contents. Dayoub is a business partner of Barakat, and is married to his first cousin, the ABC Color newspaper in Asuncion reported. Full Story

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