US Creates New Team to Probe Hezbollah Finances, Drug Activities
The U.S. Department of Justice has assembled a team of leading prosecutors to investigate the finances and drug trafficking activities of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday.
Sessions said the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team will reexamine cases stemming from Project Cassandra, a Drug Enforcement Administration operation that targeted Hezbollah’s finances and drug trafficking activities in the United States and around the world.
The initiative follows a Politico report in December that Obama Administration officials had repeatedly hindered the DEA effort while the administration was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
It comes as the Trump Administration ratchets up its rhetoric against Iran, accusing it of supporting terrorist organizations such as Lebanon-based Hezbollah and fomenting instability in the Middle East.
The Justice Department said the new team will investigate “individuals and networks providing support to Hezbollah and pursuing prosecutions in any appropriate cases.”
Led by Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan of the criminal division, the team is comprised of international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering prosecutors.
Sessions said the team will ensure that “all Project Cassandra investigations as well as other related investigations, whether past or present, are given the needed resources and attention to come to their proper resolution.”
“The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” Sessions said in a statement.