by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2017
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), Hizbullah and other terror organizations are operating freely in Latin America and have entered into a “marriage of convenience” with drug cartels to raise huge amounts of cash for terror attacks in the United States, Spain’s Defense Ministry reported.
“Latin America represents an important region for Islamic radicalism because conditions enable the free, almost undetectable, movement of their members throughout the region,” the Defense Ministry said, according to a Jan. 9 report by Judicial Watch.
According to the report, governments in the region see terrorism as a foreign problem and their intelligence agencies are incapable of handling the threats the terror groups pose.
“The ignorance involving the threat of jihadist terrorism in Latin America has been such that some governments have refused to cooperate with U.S. authorities and other intelligence services.”
The report was released this month by the division of Spain’s Defense agency known as Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos (IEEE), Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies. The document, authored by a counterterrorism expert, is titled “El radicalismo islámico en América Latina. De Hezbolá al Daesh (Estado Islámico),” Islamic Radicalism in Latin America, from Hizbullah to ISIL.
The report says Iran-backed Hizbullah has the largest terror fundraising operations in the region, though others, such as ISIL, are also prominent.
“The terrorist organizations have teamed up with established drug trafficking conglomerates to raise and launder large quantities of cash,” according to the report, which identifies a group called El clan Barakat in Paraguay and Joumaa in Colombia as two examples of drug trafficking enterprises that have long worked with Islamic jihadists to launder money. In the “marriage of convenience” between Latin American organized crime and Islamic terrorists, “each takes advantage of the benefits that the relationship provides.”
Te collaboration between Muslim terrorists and Mexican drug cartels has “created a critical threat to the United States,” Judicial Watch said.
Last year Judicial Watch reported that ISIL was operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Judicial Watch also broke a story about Mexican drug cartels smuggling foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas rural town near El Paso.
“The foreigners are classified as Special Interest Aliens (SIA) by the U.S. government and they are being transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road — Highway 20,” Judicial Watch reported.
Earlier this year Judicial Watch uncovered State Department records confirming that “Arab extremists” are entering the U.S. through Mexico with the assistance of smuggling network “cells.”