A grand jury in Philadelphia indicted four men Tuesday in connection with an alleged plot to support the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah through illegal schemes, including buying the group more than a thousand machine guns.Hizbullah, a terror group on the State Department terror watch list, operates with impunity in Southern Lebanon and has even been given a seat at the table in the Lebanese government. It's mission is to secure the destruction of Israel by any means necessary, and it isn't above attacking the US either. Until the 9/11 attacks, the deadliest terror attack against the US and its overseas interests was the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, which was carried out by a Hizbullah suicide truck bomber. 243 Marines, sailors, and soldiers were killed in that attack.
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 — though in that case, authorities have yet to accuse anyone of trying to help a specific terror group.
The indictment filed Tuesday says two suspects sought to provide roughly 1,200 Colt M4 machine guns to Hezbollah, but their efforts were thwarted by an undercover operative. The plotters allegedly sought to purchase the weapons in Philadelphia and ship them to a port in Syria where they would eventually be routed to Hezbollah.
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 more are being sought.
The AP, curiously, notes that the group caters mostly to Shiites. It omits the part where it caters to the jihad and genocidal destruction of Israel. That's its ultimate goal, and it isn't shy about it either.
The indictments were against three Lebanese men and a US citizen. All four are currently outside the US, and likely in Lebanon or Syria. That's in addition to six others who were taken into custody selling illegal goods.
An additional six men also indicted in the latest case allegedly participated in the purchase and transportation of stolen cell phones, laptops, computer games, and automobiles. They are from Brooklyn; Staten Island, N.Y.; Michigan, and Plainsboro, N.J., and do not face charges that they acted to support Hezbollah.The part about fake currency is particularly important given that both Iran and North Korea are known to counterfeit US currency so as to buy goods and services around the world, and therefore increase their buying capabilities even though the money is bogus. Hizbullah, as an Iranian proxy, is doing the same.
Five of those men are in custody in Philadelphia.
On the charges of supporting Hezbollah, the indictment says Dib Hani Harb of Beirut e-mailed the "cooperating witness" and asked for photographs of firearms available. On June 20, the informant met with a Hezbollah official and discussed selling weapons.
Three days later, Harb and a second Lebanese national, Hassan Hodroj, allegedly said they would buy 1,200 M4s for $1,800 per weapon. The indictment does not allege that any weapons changed hands.
The informant also discussed the sale of counterfeit U.S. currency, and in April met in Florida with Harb, who allegedly told him Hezbollah worked "18 to 20 hours a day counterfeiting many currencies."
In September, about $9,200 in fake currency allegedly was mailed to the informant in Philadelphia.