Three West African men are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Friday afternoon to face charges they were part of a drug trafficking ring that helped finance Al Qaeda.
The men were arrested Wednesday in Ghana. According to a New York Times report:
"The case grew out of sting operation, officials said. Two Drug Enforcement Administration informants posing as members of FARC, the Colombian terrorist group, approached the men, seeking their help to move large quantities of cocaine from West Africa, through North Africa and the desert and into Spain, the officials said.
The three men, who identified themselves to the informants as either associates of Al Qaeda, or of a related group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, told the informants that they had provided similar transportation and security services to members of Al Qaeda, the officials said."
ABC News reports that the men agreed to ship as much as 1,000 kilos of cocaine and face charges of narco-terrorism conspiracy and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Journalist Douglas Farah has some analysis here.