In October 2011, Iran apparently tried to exploit its ties to the drug cartels to conduct its eventually foiled assassination attempt on the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
“According to a federal arrest complaint filed in New York City, the [Iranian] Qods Force attempted to hire a drug cartel (identified by other sources as the Los Zetas) to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir for a fee of $1.5 million,” the report reads. “The terror attack was to take place at a popular restaurant in Washington, D.C. without regard to collateral deaths or damage.”
“The Qods Force made this solicitation because it knows drug traffickers are willing to undertake such criminal activity in exchange for money,” the report continues. “Moreover, if this terror attack had been successful, the Qods Force intended to use the Los Zetas for other attacks in the future. Had it not been for a [Drug Enforcement Agency] DEA informant posing as the Los Zetas operative, this attack could have very well taken place.”
In a previous report, McCaul’s subcommittee documented “the emerging power and influence of the Mexican drug cartels along the Southwest border.”
“The report elaborated on the increasing cooperation between the drug cartels and prison and street gangs in the United States to facilitate the trafficking and sale of illicit drugs along with the enforcement of remunerations,” the recently-released report says of the previous report. “Those cartels diversified into other areas of criminality such as human smuggling and arms trafficking.”
In a statement, McCaul said that “Middle East terrorist networks that continue to plot against the United States are expanding their ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, better positioning themselves for a possible attack on our homeland.”
“This report documents the increased presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America and addresses the growing concern that terrorist organizations will exploit burgeoning relationships with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the Southwest border undetected,” McCaul said.
The subcommittee is planning a Friday hearing to further discuss the report’s findings.