The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted four people tied to a Latin American drug-smuggling ring that helps finance Hizballah.
Those sanctioned are part of a network controlled by drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa. He was named a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker by the Drug Enforcement Administration last year. Joumaa also is under indictment in Virginia for conspiracy and money laundering tied to drug smuggling.
Government officials say his operations generate as much as $200 million per month, some of which is funneled through the Lebanese Canadian Bank [LCB] to Hizballah in Lebanon.
"The Joumaa network is a sophisticated multi-national money laundering ring, which launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hizballah," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a statement. "We and our partners will continue to aggressively map, expose and disable this network, as we are doing with today's sanctions."
The new action names Abbas Hussein Harb and Ibrahim Chibli, described as Lebanese nationals who help Joumaa move his money. Ali Mohamad Saleh is described as "a key Hizballah facilitator who has directed and coordinated Hizballah activity in Colombia. He is a former Hizballah fighter with knowledge of Hizballah operations plans due to his contact with Hizballah authorities in Lebanon."
Three companies also were designated: Colombian-based Importadora Silvania and Bodega Michigan, and Importadora Silvania in Venezuela. The designations freeze any assets belonging to those named and prohibit anyone in the United States from dealing with them.
The Treasury Department as a flow chart of the Joumaa network here.