Executive Summary ● This report aims to provide a comprehensive examination of Hezbollah-affiliated activity in America by examining all publicly-known federal criminal cases from 1997 to 2020 in the United States with a concrete link to Hezbollah. The authors found evidence of 128 individuals that meet these criteria. ● The majority of cases involve small, centralized hubs of Hezbollah operatives, who engage in illegal activities in conjunction with wider criminal enterprises to create an array of networks across America. These relationships of convenience have resulted in Hezbollah operatives collaborating with financially-motivated individuals, criminals, and other nonideological actors, in furtherance of a broader operational mission. These arrangements, in turn, have allowed Hezbollah to profit financially and deepen its influence in the United States, even as many such cases display minimal direct connective links to the terrorist organization itself. ● Based on analysis of the cases, the authors identified two distinct categories of participation in Hezbollah-affiliated activity in America: individuals who provided financial support to Hezbollah (109 individuals), and those who provided operational support (19 individuals). ○ 87% of individuals provided financial or material support to Hezbollah as money launderers, bundlers, fraudsters, and goods smugglers, with many raising funds from others to be provided to Hezbollah or directly providing funds to the group themselves. This finding supports existing assessments that Hezbollah’s primary aspirations in the United States are to use it as a financial support hub. ○ 13% of individuals in the dataset engaged in operational conduct in support of Hezbollah, including as human smugglers, weapons procurers, pre-operational surveillance, and travelers who sought to join the group. Despite the prominence of Hezbollah’s financing activities in the United States, elements within Hezbollah remain intent on developing the capacity and capability to plot attacks on U.S. soil. ● The vast majority (92%) of cases involved network activities between two or more individuals. Larger geographic hubs operated out of Michigan (55 cases), California (19 cases), North Carolina (16 cases), and New York (15 cases). 90% of individuals operating in these four states and 76% of all cases in this dataset were a part of just six networks.
Tags: Hezbollah in America