USA: Four indicted for conspiring to support Hizballah

Published November 25th, 2009 - 08:01 GMT

David S. Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice, and U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy, together with Janice K. Fedarcyk, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Philadelphia), John P. Kelleghan, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Philadelphia), Don Fort, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service (Philadelphia), and Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police today announced the indictment of 10 individuals charged with, among other things, conspiring to export weapons from Philadelphia to the Port of Latakia, Syria.


According to the indictment, Hassan Hodroj and Dib Hani Harb attempted to provide material support to Hizballah in the form of approximately 1,200 Colt M4 Carbines (machine guns).  Harb and other defendants -- including Moussa Ali Hamdan and Hasan Antar Karaki -- were also charged with conspiring to provide material support to Hizballah in the form of proceeds from the sale of fraudulent passports, counterfeit money and stolen (genuine) money.  In addition, Hamdan and several other defendants were charged with several counts of transporting stolen goods, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and making false statements to government officials.


"The allegations contained in this complaint demonstrate how terrorist organizations rely on a variety of underlying criminal activities to fund and arm themselves.  I applaud the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to bring about these charges and arrests," said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.


"This investigation demonstrates the dedication and cooperation of law enforcement agents from numerous agencies," said U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy.  "These cases show the breadth of criminal activity engaged in by those who oppose us.  The crimes charged here range from the purchase of stolen and counterfeit goods, to the purchase of false visas and passports, to the purchase of weapons. I want to compliment the law enforcement agents, the Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and the attorneys in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice for their efforts."


According to a related criminal complaint that was also unsealed today, Moussa Ali Hamdan began purchasing purportedly stolen cellular telephones from a cooperating witness acting as an agent of the government (hereinafter "the CW") in or about late 2007.  Over the next several months, Hamdan and other defendants -- including Hamze El-Najjar, a/k/a "Hamze Al-Najjar," Moustafa Habib Kassem, Latif Kamel Hazime, a/k/a "Adanan," Alaa Allia Ahmed Mohamed, a.k.a. "Alaa Ahmed Mohamed Abouelnagaa," Maodo Kane, and Michael Katz -- participated in the purchase and transportation of purportedly stolen goods on numerous occasions.  These stolen goods included cellular telephones, laptop computers, Sony Play Station 2 systems and automobiles,
which the conspirators caused to be transported to destinations outside Pennsylvania, including overseas.


At the same time, according to the complaint, the CW sold counterfeit goods --
namely, counterfeit Nike(R) shoes and Mitchell & Ness(R) sports jerseys -- to Hamdan and his associates, including defendants Hamze El-Najjar, Moustafa Habib Kassem, Alaa Allia Ahmed Mohamed, a.k.a. "Alaa Ahmed Mohamed Abouelnagaa," Maodo Kane and Michael Katz.


The complaint details efforts by defendants Moussa Ali Hamdan, Dib Hani Harb, and Hasan Antar Karaki to sell the CW counterfeit United States currency for the purpose of raising funds for Hizballah.  In total, the conspirators provided the CW with approximately $9,800 in counterfeit U.S. currency.


In this same vein, the complaint alleges that defendants Moussa Ali Hamdan, Dib Hani Harb and Hasan Antar Karaki generated additional funds for Hizballah by selling fraudulent passports.  The CW and the defendants participated in the purchase of two fake passports -- one from the United Kingdom and one from Canada -- for the benefit of Hizballah.


Finally, the complaint alleges that defendant Dib Hani Harb worked with Hodroj in furtherance of a conspiracy to provide material support to Hizballah in the form of approximately 1,200 Colt M4 Carbines (machine guns).


"The FBI remains resolutely committed to working with our law enforcement partners to find and stop those individuals who commit crimes, such as those alleged today, which are intended to provide financial and other material support for those individuals and groups operating on behalf of designated foreign terrorist organizations," said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. "Today, through the well-coordinated effort of all involved agencies, a blow has been struck to Hizballah's efforts to fund its terrorism activities."


"ICE will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to disrupt networks involved in the illegal sale and distribution of weapons and critical technologies," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton. "Today's arrests are a clear indication of the federal government's commitment to keeping Americans safe."

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