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May 17, 2013 0

Cigarette Smuggling Case Linked To Hamas

cigarette-hamas-hezbollah-smugglers

New York Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Schnei­der­man announc­ing the indictment

Ear­lier this week, author­i­ties in New York announced the indict­ment of 16 men accused of smug­gling more than $55 mil­lion worth of cig­a­rettes from Vir­ginia to New York.  Fif­teen of the men are in cus­tody while one is at large, believed to be in Jor­dan.  One of the accused is also believed to have sold the gun used in the 1994 mur­der of Ari Hal­ber­stam in Brooklyn.

Sev­eral of the men in the smug­gling ring are report­edly sus­pected of hav­ing ties to Hamas and other mil­i­tant groups.  Although author­i­ties do not yet know where the rev­enue was directed, they noted that, in the past such oper­a­tions have been used to finance Hamas and Hezbol­lah.

While fundrais­ing for ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions is not lim­ited to cig­a­rette smug­gling, there have been sev­eral cases within the United States in recent years, including:

  • A group of approx­i­mately 20 men ran a crim­i­nal enter­prise in Dear­born, Michi­gan, traf­fick­ing in con­tra­band cig­a­rettes, cig­a­rette papers and Via­gra, as well as stolen infant for­mula and toi­let paper.  Pros­e­cu­tors con­tend that the ring diverted some of the funds to Hezbol­lah.  Nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen Karim Has­san Nasser pleaded guilty to rack­e­teer­ing charges in Sep­tem­ber 2006, as did Theodore Schenk of Miami Beach, Florida and Imad Hamadeh of Dear­born Heights.
  • Dear­born res­i­dent Elias Mohamad Akhdar was sen­tenced in Jan­u­ary 2004 to nearly six years in prison for his role in a cigarette-smuggling ring designed to finance Hezbol­lah. Another Dear­born res­i­dent, Has­san M. Makki, received a sen­tence of nearly five years in prison in con­nec­tion with the scheme.
  • Car­ole Gor­don and her grand­daugh­ter Brandy Jo Bow­man were among eleven peo­ple charged in Jan­u­ary 2003 for their involve­ment in a cig­a­rette smug­gling ring that fun­neled its pro­ceeds to Hezbol­lah.   Both Gor­don and Bow­man pleaded guilty to rack­e­teer­ing charges.
  • Mohamad Ham­moud was charged in March 2001 for rais­ing funds and con­spir­ing to pro­vide “a vari­ety of items that Hizbal­lah [sic] would use to engage in vio­lent attacks and to film such attacks for use in Hizbal­lah [sic] pro­pa­ganda efforts,” accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.  Ham­moud allegedly pro­cured dual-use tech­nolo­gies for Hezbol­lah, includ­ing gog­gles, global posi­tion­ing sys­tems, stun guns, naval equip­ment, nitro­gen cut­ters and laser range find­ers.  Ham­moud and his brother, Chawki, were con­victed the fol­low­ing year of pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to Hezbol­lah through their cigarette-smuggling ring that know­ingly directed money to the ter­ror­ist organization.
  • At least three nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zens – Said Mohamad Harb, Bassem Youssef Ham­moud and Hus­sein Chahrour – and U.S. cit­i­zen Angela Geor­gia Tsioumas are among a group of nine indi­vid­u­als who bought cig­a­rettes in North Car­olina, shipped them to Michi­gan and sold them at a price lower than the tax-inflated Michi­gan price.  From 1995 to 2000, the scheme gen­er­ated over $7 mil­lion used to pro­cure dual-use tech­nolo­gies for Hezbol­lah.  Items were report­edly pur­chased for Hezbol­lah in both the U.S. and Canada, includ­ing gog­gles, global posi­tion­ing sys­tems, stun guns, naval equip­ment, nitro­gen cut­ters and laser range find­ers.  Harb pleaded guilty to pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror­ists and rack­e­teer­ing charges.  Tisoumas  pleaded guilty to rack­e­teer­ing and money laun­der­ing charges.   Chahrour pleaded guilty to rack­e­teer­ing charges.  Bas­sam Youssef Ham­moud pleaded guilty to traf­fick­ing in con­tra­band cigarettes.

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September 20, 2012 0

Chicago Teen Arrested For “Violent Jihad” Bomb Plot

Adel Daoud Photo From Facebook

An 18-year-old Chicagoan was arrested last week by the FBI for attempt­ing to det­o­nate what he believed was a car bomb out­side a bar in down­town Chicago. The plot was appar­ently intended as retal­i­a­tion for America’s per­ceived war with Islam and “oppres­sion against Muslims.”

Adel Daoud was arrested after try­ing to set off a fake device set up by FBI agents as a part of a sting oper­a­tion. Fed­eral author­i­ties began mon­i­tor­ing Daoud in Octo­ber 2011, after dis­cov­er­ing his rad­i­cal posts on Jihadist Inter­net forums.

His online activ­ity included send­ing friends copies of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula’s English-language ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine, Inspire, in order to “brain­wash them.” On one online extrem­ist forum, Daoud described Inspire as “the best mag­a­zine I have read.”

He also shared recorded lec­tures by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Mus­lim cleric killed in Yemen last year, and a video by Amer­i­can ter­ror­ist Omar Ham­mami, an Alabama native who became the pub­lic face and voice of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Somalia.

Accord­ing to the FBI affi­davit, Daoud also used the inter­net to research jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for sui­cide bomb­ings and attacks on civil­ians. In May of this year, fed­eral author­i­ties began com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Daoud online and by July, under­cover agents were meet­ing with him in person.

Dur­ing the course of the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion, accord­ing to the affi­davit, Daoud expressed his desire to carry out attacks in the United States and to travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist groups over­seas, in par­tic­u­lar in Yemen. Daoud allegedly applied for a new pass­port in March 2012.

Before set­tling on the bar, Daoud pre­sented a list of pro­posed tar­gets, includ­ing mil­i­tary instil­la­tions, con­certs, malls and tourist attrac­tions. Accord­ing to a recorded con­ver­sa­tion with the under­cover agent, Daoud alluded to the fact that Mus­lims shouldn’t be at a bar, and if they are, they deserve what they get.

I want [to do] some­thing that’s gonna make it in the news,” he said, accord­ing to the affi­davit. “If it’s only like five, ten peo­ple, I’m not gonna feel that good.”

One of Daoud’s friends was allegedly involved in the plot as well, but dropped out after being con­fronted by the sheikh at the mosque they attended.

Daoud has been charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruc­tion and an explo­sives vio­la­tion. He faces a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of life in prison.

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