HomeNewsBriefMexico Extradites Alleged Hezbollah Member to US
BRIEF

Mexico Extradites Alleged Hezbollah Member to US

MEXICO / 12 SEP 2012 BY VICTORIA ROSSI EN

Mexican police arrested and extradited a US citizen who has been accused of ties to Hezbollah, raising questions about the militant group's presence in Latin America.  

Alleged Hezbollah operative Rafic Labboun was arrested on September 8 during a police raid in Merida, Yucatan along with two other men, reported El Universal. He is suspected of violating the terms of his probation.

Labboun ran a mosque in San Jose, California before being convicted of credit card fraud in 2010. Authorities suspected that the money Labboun stole from several credit card companies was linked to a Hezbollah money laundering operation, though prosecutors were not able to prove these accusations and they were dropped because of a lack of evidence, reported CBS. He was released from jail in June after serving his 27 month sentence.

Labboun, a dual citizen of Lebanon and the US, handed Mexican authorities a false passport from Belize at the time of his arrest, according to El Universal. Fox News Latino reported that the two men accompanying him were wanted in the US for credit card fraud, while CBS reported that, according to the FBI, they were known Hezbollah members.

InSight Crime Analysis

The arrest of three alleged Hezbollah members in Mexico is likely to increase speculation about the Lebanese militant group’s presence in Latin America. Evidence of a substantial presence, however, remains low.

The most prominent such claim concerned the so-called “Iran-Zetas plot” which alleged that Iran, which has strong ties to Hezbollah, had joined with the powerful Mexican Zetas drug gang in October 2011 to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. As InSight Crime reported, however, ties between Mexican gangs and Iran and Hezbollah are highly implausible, and the allegations stem from a poor understanding of the Mexican underworld.

According to the fact-checking website Politifact, which cites a US Congressional report, various Latin American enterprises send millions of dollars to Hezbollah each year. Furthermore, the US State Department confirmed that there are no known Hezbollah cells operating in the Western Hemisphere, Politifact reported.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 29 APR 2022

A US national who received smuggled AR-15 parts in Mexico and assembled the weapons for two of the country's most…

COVID AND CRIME / 4 MAR 2021

Illegally buying endangered species via social media has grown increasingly convenient in Mexico, especially given its feeble environmental controls and…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 14 JUL 2021

The new Netflix series, “Somos.,” (We Are), offers a respectful but powerful look at the Allende massacre, one of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…