Emerging details of the foiled plot confirm long-held fears about transnational narco-trafficking enterprises
By Rob Strayer, Director of the National Security Preparedness Group
The arrest of a dual Iranian-American citizen for soliciting a Mexican drug cartel member (who turned out to be a DEA informant) to commit a terrorist act on U.S. soil is notable for what it says about the drug cartels’ use of flagrant violence and the intentions of the government of Iran.
This plot confirms long-held fears about transnational narco-trafficking enterprises -- that their channels for moving drugs, money, and weapons across the U.S. and other borders could also be used to smuggle terrorists or weapons of mass destruction into the United States. In recent years, the concern was strengthened by news that individuals from countries of special interest, including Iran, were caught attempting to enter the United States and that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah had undertaken activities in Mexico. The assumption, however, had been that the drug cartels would not jeopardize their lucrative narcotics operations by assisting global terrorist organizations or committing violence in the United States that would result in a strong and direct response by the U.S. government, possibly shutting down their smuggling networks.