Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has amassed a net personal worth of around $250 million due to his organization’s illegal drug smuggling operations, Al-Ittihad, an Arabic language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, reported on Monday.
According to the report, which relies on senior Lebanese government sources, the scope of Nasrallah’s fortune was discovered within the framework of a US Drug Enforcement Administration investigation against Hezbollah – which aside from its designation as a terrorist organization also operates as one of the largest drug cartels in the world.
Due to economic sanctions the US has reimposed on Iran and the massive reduction of Tehran’s budget to Hezbollah, Al-Ittihad reported, compounded by the heavy financial toll exacted by involvement in the Syrian civil war, Nasrallah ordered an expansion of the organization’s drug-related activities – which resulted in extensive financial gains for Hezbollah and a personal windfall for Nasrallah himself.
Nasrallah, the report continued, appointed his most trusted associates to closely oversee the organization’s drug smuggling operations.
In February 2016, the DEA said its international investigation had revealed that Hezbollah uses the money it makes from the sale of cocaine in the US and Europe to fund the purchase of weapons for use in Syria.
The DEA said at the time that the “ongoing investigation spans the globe and involves numerous international law enforcement agencies in seven countries, and once again highlights the dangerous global nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism.”
Hezbollah members have established business relationships with South American drug cartels, the DEA said.