3 Suspected Al Qaeda Operatives Charged with Drug Trafficking

Federal prosecutors in New York say they've disrupted a global drug-smuggling operation by Al Qaeda suspects. WNYC's Bob Hennelly reports.

The breakthrough for the international narco-terrorism probe came this fall when a DEA confidential informant in West Africa convinced three alleged Al Qaeda operatives that he represented the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Colombian terrorist organization that finances its operations with cocaine trafficking. The informant, posing as an anti-American Lebanese radical, convinced the three suspects to use their existing smuggling networks to move massive quantities of cocaine through North Africa and into Spain for the financial benefit of Al Qaeda and FARC. The suspects offered the informant access to established covert routes through Algeria, Libya, and Morocco. The three suspects have been transported from Ghana to Manhattan for arraignment. Prosecutors say it's the first time that alleged Al Qaeda suspects have been charged in a narco-terrorism case.

For WNYC, I'm Bob Hennelly.