Arrests just weeks ago in Zurich, Switzerland also led to confiscation of an improbable $6 trillion in fake U.S. bonds and the arrests of eight individuals in Italy. As part of the investigation that led to those arrests, $2 billion in fake bonds were also seized in Rome.
Those arrested in that law-enforcement operation were widely reported to have been trained in Iran. They were part of the Guards’ smuggling network, and were planning to buy plutonium from Nigerian contacts.
The bonds they were carrying had been transported in 2007 from Hong Kong to Zurich.
On Feb. 21, Azerbaijan officials announced the arrest of a gang with links to the Revolutionary Guards and the militant terrorist Hezbollah group. The gang members, who were involved in drug trafficking, were armed with explosives and intended to commit acts of terrorism against foreign nationals, Azerbaijan said.
According to a respected Iranian opposition website called Balatarin, a company belonging to former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rafiqdoust transfers drugs in small packages from Iran via boats and airplanes to Albania, Romania and Bulgaria. These packages are then distributed through Western Europe in trucks belonging to Albanian and Romanian companies.
The same report suggests that the Guards’ drug operation nets $20 billion annually.
A former Guards intelligence officer confirmed this in November, saying that the Guards are trying to undermine the West through their links with global crime networks.
While the trafficking of drugs funds terrorist activities, drug cartels also transport arms and explosives and move terror cells’ personnel from place to place. The Guards run this operation out of Venezuela and into Latin America as a means to enter Mexico and from there into the U.S., according to an April 2010 Pentagon report.
The Guards also use Iranian industries under their control to expand their terrorist activities. One example is Iran Khodro Company, the leading Iranian automaker with many branches outside Iran.
In 2011 a shipment of 286 pounds of heroin was intercepted in Nigeria along with 13 containers of arms and ammunition. The heroin was hidden in auto parts destined for the Iran Khodro branch in Senegal, which is operated by the Quds Forces.
Green Experts are an opposition group tied to the Green Movement in Iran that opposes the reign of Khamenei. The movement proposes free elections and the release of Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, Green movement leaders who have been under house arrest since the 2009 uprisings in Iran.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book, “A Time to Betray.” He teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.