3 men charged in Miami with financing Hizbullah

February 20, 2010 01:52

Three men were charged in an indictment unsealed Friday with illegally exporting electronics and video games to a South American shopping center that US officials claim funnels money to the Hizbullah terrorist group.

The men, along with a fourth still being sought in South America, are accused of violating a US ban on transactions involving people or entities on a Treasury Department list of suspected terrorist fundraising networks.

The shopping center, Galeria Page in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, was included on the banned list in December 2006 along with owner Muhammad Yusif Abdallah. Abdallah is described as a senior Hizbullah leader in a region of South America long considered a haven for counterfeiting, smuggling, piracy and other crimes.

The suspects arrested in the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation were identified in court documents as Khaled Safadi, 56, and 43-year-old Emilio Gonzalez, both of Miami; and 46-year-old Ulises Talavera-Campos, a citizen of Paraguay. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys, and a bail hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.

The men also face charges of conspiracy and smuggling. They face a maximum of 35 years each in prison if convicted.

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