A Hezbollah rally in Lebanon in 2008

The Mexican government has disputed claims made in a recent US congressional report, which alleges that Hezbollah has a working relationship with organized criminal groups in Mexico.

On November 15, the House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security published a report on border security which warns of increasing ties between Mexican drug cartels and Lebanon-based party Hezbollah. The congressional report claims that this relationship means that the US/Mexico border poses "the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States,” suggesting that Hezbollah and other militant Islamic organizations could take advantage of cartel smuggling routes to carry out attacks on US soil.

The Mexican government has rejected this allegation. Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican ambassador to the United States, told the Daily Caller that reports of collusion between Hezbollah and Mexican criminal groups were entirely false. “The Government of Mexico, as it has done in the past, reiterates that no such relationship or presence exists,” Alday said. The official pointed to the US State Department's most recent report on terrorism in Mexico, which states that there is "no evidence of ties between Mexican criminal organizations and terrorist groups, nor that the criminal organizations had political or territorial control, aside from seeking to protect and expand the impunity with which they conduct their criminal activity."

InSight Crime Analysis

The congressional report is the latest example of the over-hyping of the threat posed by Islamic militant activity in Latin America. The veracity of these claims is highly suspect. One of the most widely-cited examples of "proof" of a relationship between Mexican cartels and Islamic fundamentalists is the case of Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar, who was arrested in October 2011 and accused of seeking out a Zetas hitman to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

However, the evidence linking the cartel to the plot is extremely weak. As InSight Crime has pointed out, it is highly unlikely that drug trafficking organizations in Mexico would have any interest in facilitating acts of political violence in the United States. This would amount to a major threat to their continued operation, as it would likely attract unwanted attention from law enforcement over the border.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

In the photograph, they are both smiling. In the foreground, on the left hand side, a man in a short-sleeved buttoned white shirt, jeans and a metal watch, holds a bottle of water in his right hand. He laughs heartily. He is Herbert Saca. On the right...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...