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 / 12 OCT 2021

Arms trafficking in Mexico has turned to digital mediums that offer both broad visibility and anonymity to an ever-increasing flow…

MEXICO / 16 APR 2021

After the discovery of several elaborate tunnels used to siphon fuel to two hidden warehouses, it's clear that Mexico's gas…

EXTORTION / 28 JAN 2022

Cartels are known for shakedowns of avocado growers, but lime farmers have been unnoticed victims of similar extortion schemes in…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…