US: Hizbullah arms purchase plot foiled

US Hizbullah arms purch

A federal grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted four men Tuesday for an alleged plot to support the Lebanon-based group Hizbullah through illegal schemes, including buying the group more than 1,000 machine guns. The indictment comes just a day after officials in Philadelphia said they disrupted a similar scheme to acquire anti-aircraft missiles and send them to Syria, although in that case, authorities have yet to accuse anyone of trying to help a specific terror group. Hizbullah is on the US list of terror organizations. The indictment filed Tuesday says two suspects sought to provide roughly 1,200 Colt M4 machine guns to Hizbullah, but their efforts were thwarted by an undercover operative. The plotters allegedly sought to buy the weapons in Philadelphia and ship them to a port in Syria where they eventually were to have been routed to Hizbullah. The indictment charges eight others with lesser offenses related to schemes to traffic in stolen or counterfeit goods. In total, authorities say 13 suspects are in custody and 11 are being sought. In the case announced Monday, federal authorities said a separate scheme to transport stolen cell phones, laptops, and video game systems grew into a plot to ship anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. According to court documents, the chief suspect in that case, who was arrested Saturday, paid $20,000 cash to an undercover operative in July as a deposit on machine guns and shoulder-fired Stinger missiles and traveled to Philadelphia last week to inspect the merchandise.