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              In this Oct. 24, 2012 photo, a destroyed crystal methamphetamine laboratory, allegedly left by the drug cartel "Caballeros Templarios," or Knights Templar, sits abandoned near the town of Apatzingan in Michoacan state, Mexico.  Knights Templar, a quasi-religious drug cartel that controls the area and most of the state, monitors the movements of the military and police around the clock. The gang  In this Oct. 24, 2012 photo, a destroyed crystal methamphetamine laboratory, allegedly left by the drug cartel "Caballeros Templarios," or Knights Templar, sits abandoned near the town of Apatzingan in Michoacan state, Mexico. Knights Templar, a quasi-religious drug cartel that controls the area and most of the state, monitors the movements of the military and police around the clock. The gang's members not only live off methamphetamine and marijuana smuggling and extortion, they maintain country roads, control the local economy and act as private debt collectors for citizens frustrated with the courts, soldiers say. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)   

Mexico disputes House GOP report alleging Iran, Hezbollah are using Mexican drug cartels

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

A spokesman for Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán, told The Daily Caller his country’s government disputes a recent House GOP report alleging that Iranian and Hezbollah terror operatives are using Mexican drug cartels as a conduit to infiltrate the United States.

Last week, the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management released a report titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.”

The report found that the “Southwest border has now become the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.” It specifically cited a “growing influence” from Iranian and Hezbollah terror forces in Latin America.

The Mexican government disagreed with that assessment.

“The Government of Mexico, as it has done in the past, reiterates that no such relationship or presence exists,” Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, wrote in a letter to TheDC.

Alday pointed to the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism to support Mexico’s argument. “[I]n each and every one of its Country Reports on Terrorism, the US Department of State has unmistakably established that there is no such relationship.”

Alday quoted the latest such State Department report, issued on July 31 of this year.

“No known international terrorist organization had an operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican territory,” the State Department report reads. “There was no evidence of ties between Mexican criminal organizations and terrorist groups, nor that the criminal organizations had political or territorial control, aside from seeking to protect and expand the impunity with which they conduct their criminal activity.”

A spokesman for the House subcommittee, chaired by Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to the ambassador’s letter.

But the 50-page congressional report did contain what the House Republicans who prepared it contend is evidence that terror organizations are using Mexico’s drug cartels as a front.

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.”

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