Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New Concerns For President Peña Nieto: Hezbollah’s Rising Profile In Mexico – Analysis

Borderland Beat

By J.T. Larrimore
A day after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s inauguration, opposition leaders met with the new leader to sign the “Pact for Mexico”, a bipartisan agreement to increase economic cooperation and improve the stability in a country notorious for its violent drug war and devastating corruption.[1] The current plague of instability in Mexico appears to have attracted transnational criminal and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, which should be of paramount concern for President Peña Nieto. Hezbollah’s presence would further indicate a disturbing degree of instability in Mexico, which would undermine economic and social developments. 
Hezbollah has been reportedly operating for over a decade in some of South America’s most corrupt and violent regions. However, a series of arrests, coupled with the discovery of an international money-laundering scheme in Mexico, has led some to claim that Hezbollah has now established a foothold in the country.[2] While its presence in Mexico is still contested, the framework for Hezbollah’s operations is now met with ideal conditions, given the group’s history of operating in areas with high levels of corruption are present.[3] 

The South American drug trade has provided an opportunity for Hezbollah’s illicit activity for years, which would allow the terrorist organization to maintain financial solvency. According to U.S. security services, the majority of Hezbollah’s illegal operations have occurred along the Colombia-Venezuela border, as well as the Tri- Border Region between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. In these areas, a number of analysts have suggested that Hezbollah has aligned with various drug cartels to the mutual benefit of all parties involved.[4] Mexico, with its half-decade of escalating drug activity, presents similar conditions to those Latin American regions that are thought to already have ties to Hezbollah. These regions suffer from bouts of instability and are inflicted with high rates of corruption and a lucrative drug trade.

Evidence of Hezbollah’s Presence in Mexico 

Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico is a conservational topic among politicians as well as security experts.[5] However, recent arrests and a surge of indictments, strengthens the argument that Hezbollah is now active in Mexico:

On May 5, 2012, Jamal Yousef, a former member of the Syrian Army, pleaded guilty in a U.S. Court to a conspiracy that provided weapons to a Colombian terrorist organization in exchange for cocaine. Court documents revealed that the weapons used for the transaction had been stolen from Iraq, and were being held by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico.[6] 

On June 23, 2012, Ayman Joumaa, a Hezbollah associate, was indicted in a U.S. Federal Court on charges of a conspiracy to distribute narcotics and engage in potential money laundering. Ayman Joumaa and his associates were accused of smuggling narcotics from Colombia to Mexico for the “Los Zetas” drug cartel. The drug earnings would be transmitted, laundered around the world and then placed in business and bank accounts linked to Hezbollah.[7]

In September 2012, authorities arrested three men suspected of being Hezbollah operatives hiding in Mexico. One of them was a Lebanese man named Raffic Labboun, also a naturalized U.S. Citizen, who was considered to be the leader of Hezbollah operations in San Francisco, however, he fled to Mexico after being released from prison in the U.S. for fraud linked to the terrorist organization.[8] 

While there has been a good deal of speculation over Hezbollah’s activity in Mexico, evidence reveals that their main objective has been financial in nature.

Economic Reform Countered by Corruption 

Newly inaugurated President Peña Nieto campaigned heavily on economic development issues by means of a series of basic reforms. The president believes that his reforms will boost Mexico’s economy and in the process, transform the country into being one of the world’s most important economic drivers. Mexico has excited economic forecasters, given that its GDP is expected to grow 4 percent annually, and the unemployment rate should fall below 5 percent.[9] However, foreign investors are concerned that Mexico is too unstable to develop into a global economic power. They argue the drug trade and rampant corruption will dampen any economic reform brought forth by the government.[10] In fact, according to a 2009 report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command concerning future threats, “In terms of worst case scenarios, Mexico… bears consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse.[11]
Corruption has hindered Mexico’s social and economic development for years. Today, Mexico is the 71st most corrupt country in the world, and finds itself with little ability to reverse this debilitating trend without a stronger and more centralized anti-crime enforcement strategy.[12] If Mexico is to develop according to its lofty projections, the country’s endemic corruption rate must be more effectively addressed and resolved. 
President Peña Nieto’s agenda on corruption initiatives includes a new anti-corruption commission that would have the authority to remove officials from office, hand out fines, and move ahead with prosecutions. Furthermore, the president has also proposed moving the federal police to the jurisdiction of Mexico’s Department of the Interior, among other far-reaching reforms of the country’s security forces. The departmental transfer of the country’s police force would hopefully limit the country’s potential for graft. Critics who are skeptical of these reforms have stated that in order to eliminate corruption, the president must create a functioning and improved criminal justice system and establish stronger anti-corruption measures that would automatically confiscate illegally obtained assets.[13] What these critics have failed to realize is that the Mexican government has already initiated many of these measures with little effect. Unfortunately, corruption appears to have become deeply ingrained within Mexican culture, which serves as a pessimistic indicator of real prospects for new reforms.
In 2010, Transparency International carried out a poll to determine the extent of corruption in Mexico. In the poll, 31 percent of Mexican citizens had reported paying a bribe at least once, 75 percent of Mexicans believed that corruption had increased in their country, and only 22 percent believed that the government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective.[14] The poll revealed that the people of Mexico have a contradictory perception of corruption. The majority of them appear to have become accustomed and desensitized to a system of bribery as a function of the country’s everyday life. They disagree with the fundamental nature of a corrupt government, yet they often partake in the spoils and payoffs spawned by corruption in order to accomplish tasks and increase their earnings. In order for a more effective government authority to be achieved, the people must demand greater accountability as well as a significant advance in social reforms. This may only be achieved through formidable efforts to dislodge traditional norms of corruption.

Drug War 

President Peña Nieto has inherited former President Felipe Calderon’s drug war; a war which has resulted in the deaths of 50,000 people, and has attracted Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) like Hezbollah within its borders. Although Hezbollah’s primary objective has been financial, it has aligned with Mexican drug cartels in order to better traffic narcotics and launder drug profits.[15] President Peña Nieto must realize that this criminal alliance could topple any gains put forth by his administration. Michael Braun of the DEA has stated that Hezbollah is “in essence, the face of twenty-first century organized crime…meaner and uglier than anything law enforcement or militaries have ever faced.” [16] 

In response to the violent drug war, President Peña Nieto has vowed to continue fighting drug trafficking. In order to carry out this effectively, he intends to remove the Army from conducting counter-drug operations, and has stated that Mexico will continue to cooperate with the United States. The drug war has often dominated talks between the two nations into a monothematic discourse that both leaders are eager to modify and hopefully reverse. 

All the while, President Peña Nieto recognizes that Mexico’s poor image abroad has slowed the country’s economic growth. In order to reverse a declining inflow of capital to the country, the president has announced a commitment to modernize trade deals and further develop oil and gas exploration in order to attract more foreign investments. However, Peña Nieto must realize that if FTOs like Hezbollah continue to operate in Mexico, efforts to develop the country’s economy will be greatly hindered.[17]


Hezbollah’s print in Mexico is still relatively light, but is an indication of the level of insecurity that the country continues to operate with on a daily basis. A high rate of corruption along with a lucrative drug trade perpetually threatens to stifle Mexico’s desire to overcome its reputation as a haven for transnational criminal and terrorist organizations 

The new Mexican administration has pledged an ambitious reform of government institutions in order to alleviate certain problematic sectors of the economy. While a certain number of these reforms are legitimate, others appear to be headed for failure in their attempt to tackle core issues concerning instability. Based partly on Mexico’s deeply rooted political traditions, confronting these difficult issues will be decisive obstacles for President Peña Nieto to achieve his goals. The president must attract foreign investment, which cannot be sustained unless the remnants of the violent drug war are contained. It will be a difficult task for the new administration to accomplish such a task, but it is an initiative that his administration must confront and dispatch with success. 

J.T. Larrimore, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Sources: eurasiareview, Blaze


  1. This is the beggining of the end for mexico all of México not just the criminals by saying things like this their goal is to justify a full blown invasion of México more obvious than the gradual one already in progress,it seems that calderón willingly handing over mexicos natural resources isnt enough , I would like this blogs managers to bring to light some of the deals our x president made with international gas companies, it may seem like it has nothing to do with narco newsor this so called war but ir is all part of a front to keep the citizens focus away from such deals

  2. I have to digest that one some. I'm impressed you
    Thanked DD from the forum, Havana. Interesting post.


  4. Appears to be most likely true . I've repeatedly heard it.

  5. Shame shame on the cartals murdering 50,000 of their own people...Dear God what are this mentally sick people doing to their own people...somebody do something to stop them..Pena Nieto declare them cartels killers Terrorists get help!!!

  6. i cant believe you yourself would fall victim to all this fear mongering and deflection of blame. hezbolla has deeper roots in the US and Canada.

  7. The cartels should keep right away from these middle-eastern terrorist's if they know whats good for them,they are nothing but trouble and will bring the heavy hands of U.S. forces upon them.

  8. I think the cartels understand if a terror attack happens in the US 1) There ability to get product to customers will disappear, and 2) The Mexican government that is tied hand in hand with the cartels will know it will cease to exist.

  9. What a load of rubbish, Hezbollah cannot and do ot operate in Mexico

  10. Is this article supposed to scare us about the Arabs, again?

    Hezbollah DOES N O T EQUAL Al-Qaeda!

    Last time, we had the assassination plot (by a used car salesman de Corpos y de RoundRock) against the Saudi Ambassador by some DEA informants that said they were Z...

    I'm no expert in Arab/Israeli politics; but, as far as I'm concerned, the only people that really care about Hezbollah's money laundering activities are the Israelis; and of course, the United States' Christian Political Right [that sees the US's relationship with Israel as playing some part in the "End Times" doomsday scenarios that they so wish upon the world (cuz it means that JEZUZ is upon us!)]

    Nucking Futz!

    Despite their tragic history, I'm no fan of Israel cuz that relationship has cost us too many American lives and money, with little tangibles to show for it...

    1. You're an idiot. . . and using words like "cuz" and "z" instead of "s" reaffirm that fact. what does ideal have to do with the article? i guess it's also fine for FTO's to operate in Mexico. . . as long as it's not al-qaeda. please do us a favor and shut the fuck up. this article is about cleaning up the corruption in Mexico and the side effects of not doing so.

    2. Beautifully said. Couldn't agree with you more.

    3. You are right. Exactly. In fact Hezzbollah is doing more against IS and Al Queda than the west or Israel ever would. And for naysayers who say Hezzbolah don't operate in S or C America or Mexico. I've seen Shia Lebanese counting stacks of $100 bills in cambios with Uzi wielding Paraguayan guards standing outside next to the Lebs Mercedes 500 in the tri border area where I lived. Seen that maybe 50 times its do common.

  11. Nobody with a brain and little education thinks Al Queda and Hezzbolah are remotely the same. Give us a little credit here.

  12. Having the Hezbollah in the equation may be a blessing in disguise!
    With one more player as ruthless as themselves, the drug cartels will have another enemy to fight with!
    Sooner, rather than later, they will finish each other off!!!!!

  13. Holy hell that's all mexico needs is a bunch of even more more fucked up people to help out with the already fucked up situation... see, and them corridos been talking about arabs being in the mix for the longest ass time.. guess them fools never heard of being prosecuted because of lyrics like with some rappers here in the states... oh wait, it'd have to be a halfass decently honest judge and court and judicial system for that to happen never mind.

  14. The Mexicans need to KILL These fucking Hezbollah Muslim Terrorists..
    They will destroy the Mexican culture and try to spread that Satanic Religion!
    Do not befriend a Terrorist, they will never be trustworthy.
    Allah is all they care about and Muhammad who was a PEDOPHILE who had a 6 year old wife.
    Destroy them before they get too strong.
    The Gringos will invade Mexico if this persists.
    They are far more dangerous then Narco gangs.
    Even though Obama is a Muslim, he will be forced to go after these Terrorists being so close to the USA.

    1. Satanic religion you sound so f##king
      Retarded its not even funny Hezbollah is a political party
      Of Lebanon people.
      Islam is a religion Hezbollah is a political party aka party of God
      Now all Hezbollah wants is to destroy
      Israelis that's it nothing more nothing less. I also heard that Hamas is also in Mexico I'm more in there favor
      I know for a fact that that cartels want these middle eastern people
      To dig tunnels for them in return
      Mohammed gets paid. Middle eastern
      People known how to make the best
      Tunnels in the world just look at Israel/Palestine or Turkey.
      Me personaly I'm more scared of Jose
      And all his American guns and drugs than Mohammed and his homemade
      Bomb vest.

  15. Load of bullshit....This article is Jewish propaganda....Hezbollah are NOT terrorist....Worst are the Jewish elite bankers who launder the dirty blood money of the Mexican drug cartels.

  16. Sad to see a potentially good blog, go sour. Thank you for your prior stories with little credibility.. but this takes the cake. Sounds like a pro-Zionist wrote this.

  17. Political bs as it all is. The US is washing money to purchase weapons for dirty wars all over the place just the same as Hezbollah.

  18. Amazing. That was one of the most pure horse crap articles I'v ever seen on BB.

  19. Wow. Excellent story. For those who DO NOT "GET THE MESSAGE OF THIS STORY", IT IS ABOUT MEXICO AND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO A COUNTRY AND IT'S PEOPLE. Granted, it has been years since I graduated from Medical School. But, amazingly I can still READ!!! My heart aches at the continuing nightmare of MURDER,CORRUPTION,DRUG TRAFFICKING AND NOW FREAKING TERRORISTS???? Do you people have hearts of stone? Thanks Chris at Rantburg and Havana. May 2013 be the beginning of PEACE IN MEXICO. As always, your friend...Texas Grandma.

  20. Hezbollah is nothing like Al queda. Not in the least. This story is not brand new news. Hezzbolah in Mexico has been here for a while now. 2009 or 2010.

  21. Man, what a load of bull shit.

  22. yeah start worrying when its the Mujjahadeed.

  23. Thanks for the article.....unlike some on this blog I am well read enough to understand that the rights Americans now enjoy started with a bunch of evangelical right wing fanatics that wanted freedom for their families........


  24. The southside of chicago is by far more dangerous than most of all of mexico. People are killed by firearms in the US than anywhere else on the globe so lets stop being scared cause violence is right in your own backyard.

  25. What makes this story believable is that Hezbollah is getting assistance from the Zetas. If any Cartel would help hezbollah it would be the Zetas.

  26. I for one find this article somewhat true. I have a relative that travels all over Mexico and does business in Tepito ( bootleg capital of Mexico). Some of his stories about middle eastern men being in charge in that area gives this article some truth. My relative claims that these people have any kind of law enforcement to millitary uniform you can imagine. These are people are notorious for counterfeit goods from cigarettes to meds.

  27. For those Ignorant Morons defending Hezbollah, why don't you go live with them if they are so peaceful.
    If you do not convert to that Heretic Religion of Islam then they will target and eventually Kill you!
    They use Suicide Bombers just like Al Qaeda and this is a Fact!
    Now we have Hezbollah Fan Boys and Cheer leaders here..Sick!
    And thanks BB for Censoring comments..
    Pretty pathetic to be honest!

  28. I am reading the comments and some of you say this article is a load of bull crap however, maybe read again cause all proof is in the words..
    With the arrests and what not ranging from south america all the way to san francisco. So if their in those places why wouldnt they be in the middle as well?
    Dirty wars?? Ha, the u.s.a. Has been letting central an south american coutries amongst others bring their products to usa to sell escorted on c.i.a. Planes forever to get money for weapons and such to be better equipped to fight the enemy, cause one way or another the u.s. Doesnt want those enemys to end up victorious in these private little dirty wars... And the government wont let our army get involved because usa has had agendas for decades main one being to grasp a firm hold on the entire globe While it has its chance ""china"" etc sure has alot of people im sure they could easily be a real threat if usa dont get bases built on as many pieces of foreign soil as possible....
    And usa has had this as one of many agendas since the 1940's--1950's 1: get bases built on as many as possible drug producing countries.. 2: bases on as many as possible drug transhipment countries/areas to gain more control of all the profits that are involved in the usa's hunger for drugs that were once legal for many years in usa but no longer legal provided for huge money to be moving from u.s. Back to the countries that produced and helped ship these products.. All the while looking like good guys seizing loads of drugs heading towards the states an catching loads of money going back to these places that helped ship an produce these drugs... Just like presant times so much drugs coming thru/from mexico and so many guns alot u.s. Made heading to mexico, which is why after decades of a failed drug war its still going on an drugs havent been regulated like alcohol an ciggs have .. Because theres just to much money to be made, to much job security that stays solid, all because drugs are illegal... This block isnt big enough for me to list all the jobs that would suffer if drugs were legalized and regulated in usa

  29. Well if certain chosen people would come n hostally invaded this greatcountry of ours I would also do everything within my means to try to stop them as well

  30. @ 10:14 - "Hezbollah fan boys" -
    read 12/27 13:15; then hand over your property ( include the 'puter in your mom's basement).

    @ 8:55 - "Founders" vs. "First Colonists" -
    No... that's just the story fed to you around the same time someone was having you trace your hand to draw a Thanksgiving turkey.

    The "first colonists (1607)" were Jamestown farmers/slavers wanting to make a buck.

    The "founders (1776)" were pragmatist secularists that allowed slavery to stain this country's history; MOST DEFINITELY not religious zealots.

    A little reading might have informed the grade school (or home-school) version of history.

    There's the bell; schools out.

  31. ...thats your argument?!?! ...they're poopie-head terrorists?

    "Sons of umma" couldn't possibly be read "Sons of Liberty," could it?

    Don't get it wrong: The goal should be to help ourselves out of ignorance and to spread ambivalence on this matter; a just world is flat and monochrome.

    Only the dumb and ignorant are charmed by piety. The truth lies only in interests.

  32. "The goal should be to help ourselves out of ignorance and to spread ambivalence on this matter; a just world is flat and monochrome""Only the dumb and ignorant are charmed by piety"
    I couldn't agree more,not because of any cruelty or disassociation,or anything similar.Purely out of truth in myself and hypocrisy in others,people are easily led down a path,and the"piety"that people exhibit in safety,goes out the window in any kind of trouble.Political directives work on the masses, they can be told what to think,very easily?

  33. December 29, 2012 12:58 PM
    "Sons of umma"
    Ummah, an Arabic word meaning people, generation, or community.
    as-salāmu 'alaykum
    If you are a Muslim you are refreshingly frank and realistic,,,as with most things,this subject can be very complicated?Or very easy?Good on you brother.

  34. You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing
    which I believe I would never understand. It
    sort of feels too complex and very wide for me.
    I am taking a look ahead on your subsequent submit,
    I'll try to get the dangle of it!


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