Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Ohio Hezbollah-Meth Drug Smuggling Ring

You’ve heard the one about the Cleveland gas station owner that was smuggling the ingredients for methamphetamine to California to raise millions of dollars for the Shi’ite terrorist group, Hezbollah. What, you haven’t? Oh, that’s right! The Columbus Dispatch never said anything about it. Silly me.

Earlier today I was reading a recent report, “The Convergence of Crime and Terror” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Kyle Dabruzzi of the Center for Policing Terrorism. In their section on the roll of drug trafficking in the US for raising funds for Islamic terrorist organization, a quick mention of the case of Mohammad Shabib of Parma Heights was made in the context of the three known Hezbollah drug rings that federal authorities have thus far discovered (in addition to those run by Al-Qaeda, etc.).

Here’s a summary of the case:

Cleveland, Ohio: Federal prosecutors charged Mohammad Shabib with hiding his role in a drug ring which profits were funneled to Hizballah. Shabib, a gas station owner, had $8,000,000 in a Chicago bank account, which authorities say Shabib amassed by shipping roughly 3 tons of pseudoephedrine from Canada to California, which he would sell to Mexican gangs who would use the drugs to produce methamphetamine. (See: Amanda Garrett, “Terrorists’ Money Takes Convoluted Path in U.S.,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 18, 2004).
As soon as Shabib was charged (DOJ press release on the indictment) the leaders of the Cleveland Muslim community predictably rose up in his defense (much like CAIR’s Ahmad Al-Ahkras recently rose up in defense of Columbus Al-Qaeda suspect, Christopher Paul; see “Columbus Al-Qaeda Man Charge, CAIR Not Pleased”):

The possibility that Shabib was part of any terrorism plot made the president of the Cleveland Arab-American Business Association laugh out loud.

“This has to be the joke of 2002,” said Sam Qasem, who knew Shabib socially. “This guy didn’t know the first thing about anything. He wouldn’t know what to do with a gun. Believe me, this guy had nothing to do with any terrorism. He wanted to be more American than you or me.” (John Caniglia, “Man linked to terror drug ring,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 5, 2002)
Qasem did not explain the $8 million Shabib had stashed away in his Chicago bank accounts, the funds that he had transfered to Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan, nor the hours of phone taps the FBI had made recording Shabib conducting his meth smuggling business. That surely would have stopped his laughing.

While there were 32 individuals charged in this sweep, Shabib’s role was critical to the entire enterprise, as the Plain Dealer explained:

Federal authorities said Shabib connected two of the drug underworld’s greatest hubs: In Canada, workers have churned out pseudoephedrine legally in such massive quantities that the country is the leader in its production. In Riverside, Calif., workers have used the drug to make methamphetamine so quickly that the city and its suburbs are largest producers of the drug in the world. In the process, Shabib allegedly made big money. (John Caniglia, “Parma Heights man linked to drug ring,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 31, 2002)
As we’ve been trying to emphasize here at the COAT Blog, terrorism is a deadly serious matter here in Central Ohio, but you would never know it if you had to rely on the Columbus Dispatch or any of the Central Ohio TV stations. As Sun Tzu noted here in our very first blog post, “Columbus Dhimmimedia”, the Central Ohio media establishment is asleep at the wheel.

Fortunately, our friend Dirk Thompson of 610AM WTVN’s Radio Deli weekend show gets it. We are here, hopefully, that there will soon be many more like him. Thanks, Dirk!