Is Hezbollah smuggling weapons to Brazil?

Evidence shows links between the Lebanon-based group and criminal organizations in South America.

November 10, 2014 10:55
1 minute read.
Arab Bank trial

Hezbollah flags seen in front of Arab Bank building in Beirut. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hezbollah is being investigated in Brazil for the illegal trade of firearms, Brazil's influential O Globo newspaper reported on Sunday.

According to the report
in the Rio de Janeiro-based paper, Federal investigators in Brazil have been probing possible ties between Lebanon and criminal gangs in Brazil for the past eight years.

Hezbollah-linked groups allegedly began smuggling arms into Brazil back in 2006, according to federal documents obtained by O Globo, which suggest that Lebanon's lucrative drug trade played a key role in funding the illegal trade.

The intelligence community said they had a mountain of evidence to support these claims.

The Brazil-bound weapons ultimately reached
jails, from which the criminal gangs operated, in exchange for "
protection of any foreigners [already] detained in prisons," as well as a slice of the profit. Beyond smuggling arms, Hezbollah reportedly helped negotiate deals to attain explosive devices for terror schemes.

The report first surfaced
after US officials looked into Lebanon's illegal drug trade and found links between Brazilian criminals financing Hezbollah.

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