Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tijuana Terrorist?

I first read about the arrest of an alleged Hezbollah agent in Tijuana on a right-wing site yesterday (can't remember which, sorry), and have since seen it referenced only on a handful of Mexican news sites, some Middle Eastern sites, and on Boz's Twitter feed. The fact that no big news source on either side of the border has run a major story on this makes me suspect that something doesn't add up: you'd think that one of the world's major terrorist groups having a representative on the US border would set newsrooms ablaze.

In any event, Hezbollah has long been active in the South American drug trade, and there are lots of Mexicans of Middle Eastern descent (especially from Lebanon). Given that, the existence of someone with connections to Hezbollah in Mexico's underworld wouldn't be a shocker. Before anyone starts freaking out, it's worth determining whether the person in question is a drug runner with some contacts in the Middle East, or a potential terrorist.


boz said...

It's definitely an odd story. The thing is, it was originally reported by a Kuwaiti newspaper, which is not usually a source for news on Tijuana, and then spread to the Israeli media and then on to Latin America.

Someone who is laundering money for a cartel to send back to Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran is a very different threat than someone about to put a suicide belt on and attack a target in the US or Mexico. At first glance, this guy seems more like the financial type than the blowing himself up type, which is probably why it's not big news.

pc said...

Yeah I had the same reaction about the source. I never got to the original Kuwaiti article, but a piece in Haaretz doesn't make it clear where the original info came from. It talks about "police say", but is that Mexican police? Why are Mexican police breaking stories from Kuwaiti papers instead of Zeta, for example? Really odd.

Assuming the story is legit, I agree, I'd guess he's a money guy rather than someone set on installing a sleeper cell.

Great post on the coffee a few weeks back, by the way. Mexico's beans are good, but the typical preparation of a simple cup of black coffee is miserable.

CfSR said...

Here is the Google translation of the original Kuwaiti newspaper article.

The original Arabic is here.

pc said...

Thanks for the tip CFSR, checking that out now...