The US Department of Justice designated on Monday the Lebanese “Hezbollah” party as a transnational criminal organization.
The designation was part of an announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the creation of a new task force aimed at zeroing in on the three of the world's most notorious drug cartels and the brutal MS-13 street gang
Hezbollah has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US. This is the first time it was labeled as a transnational criminal organization. In 2015, the US Treasury accused Hezbollah of drug smuggling and money laundering, charges denied by the party’s chief Hassan Nasrallah.
Speaking to a group of federal prosecutors on Monday, Sessions designated groups as top transnational organized crime threats and said the new task force will "develop a plan to take each of these groups off of our streets for good."
The task force will allow federal prosecutors to better target priority organizations and make prosecutions "more effective," he said.
As part of initiative, prosecutors will lead specialized subcommittees focusing on each of the organizations.
The groups include the Sinaloa Cartel, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and Clan del Golfo and Hezbollah.
The subcommittees investigating the drug cartels are led by prosecutors who have charged drug kingpins and led cases that resulted in the seizures of millions of dollars.
The subcommittee on Hezbollah will be led by Assistant US Attorney Ilan Graff of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Graff is overseeing the prosecution of two members of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization, the first such operatives to be charged with terrorism offenses in the US.
Sessions has ordered each of these subcommittees to provide specific recommendations within 90 days on how to disrupt and dismantle these organizations, whether through prosecution, diplomacy, or other lawful means.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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