NEW PUBLICATION: “Following the Money Trail” to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption in the Americas

Over the past decade, there has been a greater appreciation of how “following the money trail” directly contributes to the fight against terrorism, crime, and corruption around the world. Money serves as the oxygen for any activity, licit or illicit; it is the critical enabler for any organization, from international crime syndicates like the Mexican cartels to terrorist groups like the FARC, ISIS, and Hezbollah. Financial intelligence has helped governments to better understand, detect, disrupt, and counter criminal and terrorist networks and expose political corruption.

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States and its Latin American partners have strengthened their ability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and consciously incorporated the financial instrument of national power into their national security strategies. “Following the money trail,” counterterrorism, and Drug Kingpin sanctions and asset forfeiture have become particularly important to attack narco-insurgencies, dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and address political corruption scandals that have reached the highest levels of governments across Latin America.

This report focuses on the threats from money laundering and terrorist financing, distinguishing the two, and explains government efforts to counter illicit financing. It describes the ways illicit actors raise, move, store, and use money to pursue their dangerous agendas. Specific cases examining the FARC in Colombia, the 2015 fall of the Guatemalan government, and Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal illustrate how governments use financial intelligence to pursue terrorists, criminals, corrupt politicians, and their financiers in Latin America. Finally, the report emphasizes the need to design, implement, and constantly update national and international strategies to combat the financing of emerging threats like terrorism, crime, and corruption and to safeguard our financial systems.

Download the report

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No evidence of jihadists in Mexico, official says

08/25/14 Fox News Latino

Jose Antonio MeadeThere is no evidence to support the comments by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that jihadists could enter the United States via the southern border, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Antonio Meade said.

“It is very unfortunate that some people make foreign policy on the basis of beliefs, suppositions and completely unfounded and absurd analyses,” Meade said in a press conference on Saturday.

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Perry Says Terrorists Could Be Entering the U.S. From Mexico

08/21/14 New York Times

Rick PerryGov. Rick Perry of Texas warned Thursday that militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other terrorist groups may have already slipped across the Mexican border.

Mr. Perry said there is “no clear evidence” that terrorists have entered the United States illegally across the southern border. But he argued that illegal immigration should be considered a national security issue as well as a social and economic problem, and as evidence he cited the increase in violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

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Mexico disputes House GOP report alleging Iran, Hezbollah are using Mexican drug cartels

The Daily Caller, 11/20/2012

A spokesman for Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán, told The Daily Caller his country’s government disputes a recent House GOP report alleging that Iranian and Hezbollah terror operatives are using Mexican drug cartels as a conduit to infiltrate the United States.

Last week, the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management released a report titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.”

The report found that the “Southwest border has now become the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.” It specifically cited a “growing influence” from Iranian and Hezbollah terror forces in Latin America.

Lawmaker urges feds to monitor Hezbollah in Mexico

Fox News, 10/29/2012

The presidential campaign has featured plenty of talk about terrorism in the Middle East, but one lawmaker is warning that the federal government is ignoring a growing Hezbollah presence in Mexico, with the Lebanese terror group increasingly joining forces with drug cartels.

The ties linking Mexico to Islamic terrorism were underscored earlier this year when an alleged Iranian operative plotted to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington using a hired gun on loan from a Mexican drug cartel. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) says the mounting evidence of a Hezbollah presence in Mexico is being ignored by the Department of Homeland Security.

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A Suspected Terrorist is held in Yucatan (in Spanish)

Animal Politico, 9/10/12

A man believed to be a member of Hezbollah was detained yesterday in the capitol of Yucatan.  Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun is a United States citizen, but is believed to be a member of a Hezbollah cell which operates in the Yucatan and in Central America.

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Mexico reveals attempted attack on US embassy (In Spanish)

Univision, 10/18/11

Un informe confidencial de la Secretaría de Marina (Semar) reveló que personal de la dependencia sí halló explosivos durante un operativo realizado en la colonia Roma, en la ciudad de México, el 9 de junio de 2010, a pesar de que autoridades de la Subprocuradoría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada (SIEDO), y la propia Secretaría lo desmintieron en ese entonces.

De acuerdo con dicho informe,  dado a conocer por la periodista Carmen Aristegui y el cual fue filtrado al portal www.borderlandbeat.com, en ese operativo también se encontró un logotipo del grupo extremista islámico armado Al Shabab.  En el texto la Semar refiere que dicho material explosivo sería usado para atentar contra la embajada de Estados Unidos y consulados de dicha nación en México por un líder terrorista somalí.

La cadena de Noticias MVS indicó que en el reporte oficial de la Armada, clasificado como confidencial, se habla de un “Operativo Salim”, que tiene el sello del gobierno de México y de la Semar.

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