An indictment was handed down Aug. 30 by the Southern District Court of New York that shows a connection between Hezbollah - the proxy army of Iran and a designated terrorist organization - and the drug cartels that violently plague the U.S.-Mexico border.
In short, a well-known international arms dealer was trying to orchestrate an arms-for-drugs deal in which cocaine from FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which works with Mexican drug cartels to take cocaine into America - would be traded for thousands of weapons housed by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico.
This most recent case brings up several questions: Why would a member of Hezbollah be in Mexico? Why would Hezbollah need thousands of weapons in Mexico? Why are members of Hezbollah willing to work with FARC? Perhaps to exchange weapons for drugs? If Hezbollah has guns in Mexico and wants drugs, isn't it logical to assume that it is trading with more accessible Mexican drug cartels?
This is just the most recent incident in which it's clear that Hezbollah may have a presence in Mexico and along our southern border. There have been more incidents - which have been ignored by the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
On June 23, I sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking her to establish a task force to investigate the presence of Hezbollah along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The evidence is there: Hezbollah's cooperation with countries across South America. Highly sophisticated tunnels for transferring drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, ones very similar to the tunnels dug by Hezbollah into Israel. The close relationship between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the increase in Iranian nationals traveling through Venezuela to receive false documents, which they use to cross into the United States. Mexican officials raising concerns about Hezbollah operatives possibly training Mexican drug cartel enforcers in making car bombs.
Michael Braun, a former Drug Enforcement Administration chief of operations, has even been quoted as saying, "Hezbollah relies on the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels. ... They work together; they rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected."
Only a few weeks after I sent this letter, it was reported that Jameel Nasr, a Mexican national with ties to Hezbollah in Lebanon, "entrusted with forming a base in South America and the United States to carry out operations against Israeli and Western targets," was arrested by the Mexican government. Days later, a cell-phone-detonated car bomb - the first of its kind reported used by Mexican drug cartels - was deployed just across the U.S.-Mexico border in Juarez. On Aug. 27, another car bomb exploded in a U.S.-Mexico border state. These car bombs show an evolution in the tactics being used by the drug cartels and bear a strong resemblance to those employed by Hezbollah, raising questions as to who trained the cartels.
Doesn't the protection of the American public deserve answers? The primary role of the federal government is to protect its citizens. Unfortunately, the administration continues to sit by idly while security threats go uninvestigated. And that's all I'm requesting - an investigation to find out what's going on along our southern border.
To date, I have not received a response from the Department of Homeland Security informing me of any decision to investigate. How much more is it going to take?
Sue Myrick is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina.