Sessions creates team focusing on Hezbollah drug trafficking

By Susan McFarland  |  Jan. 11, 2018 at 10:50 AM
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Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday the creation of an investigative unit that will look into narcoterrorism cases related to the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah.

The Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team will investigate individuals and networks that support Hezbollah, including cases stemming from Project Cassandra, an effort launched in 2008 by the Drug Enforcement Administration to undercut the militant group's funding from illicit drug sources, the Justice Department said in a release.

The task force will consist of investigators and prosecutors experienced in international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime and money laundering.

The team will be overseen by the Justice Department's Criminal Division and along with the DEA, the team will be coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and prosecutors from Justice's National Security Division and United States Attorneys' offices, according to the statement.

"The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis," Sessions said in a statement. "The team will initiate prosecutions that will restrict the flow of money to foreign terrorist organizations as well as disrupt violent international drug trafficking operations."

Last month, Sessions announced he was ordering a review of the Project Cassandra cases, saying he was "hopeful" the Obama administration had not thrown barriers in the way of the investigations.

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