Skip to comments.Nine Arrested in Terror Money Schemes
Posted on 03/21/2003 1:29:09 PM PST by JohnHuang2
Nine Arrested in Terror Money Schemes
By JOHN SOLOMON .c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agents arrested nine people at businesses from New York to California that they allege were smuggling money abroad or selling fake passports in schemes that could aid terrorists.
Among the operations that authorities said they cracked was one in New York that allegedly moved $33 million, including some illegal drug proceeds, to Pakistan. Another was a network of tobacco stores in Minnesota that allegedly smuggled cash to Lebanon and Jordan.
Authorities said while none of those who were arrested over the three-day operation are being charged with being terrorists, the schemes they used and the countries they were involved with have been ``exploited by terrorist organizations.''
``By dismantling these illegal networks, we are denying avenues for terrorist groups to raise and move funds in this country,'' said Michael Garcia, a top official with the new Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversaw the investigation.
The arrests were led by the Operation Green Quest task force, made up of federal agencies including the FBI, IRS, Secret Service, Naval Intelligence Service, Coast Guard and Postal Inspection Service.
To date, the task force has arrested 93 people and seized $11 million said to have been involved in terrorist financing operations. It has seized $24 million more in smuggled cash, most headed to countries with terrorist problems, officials said.
In a Friday morning raid in Los Angeles, agents arrested one man after agents intercepted more than 270 money orders totaling nearly $136,000 that were being shipped to Beirut via private parcels.
In New York City, agents arrested four people in raids Thursday night that resulted from an 18-month undercover operation that authorities said showed a business named Manhattan Foreign Exchange moved $33 million to Pakistan.
Authorities said some of the money was from illegal narcotics.
Associates of the business, located in the basement of a restaurant, also sold fake U.S., Pakistani, Canadian and British passports and other fraudulent travel documents, officials alleged.
Manhattan Foreign Exchange's owner, Shaheen Khalid Butt, was arrested on money-laundering, currency reporting, conspiracy and immigration fraud charges, officials said.
``Law enforcement officials allegedly observed during electronic surveillance that Shalid Khalid Butt and his unlicensed business received frequent cash deliveries, tens of thousands of dollars at a time, from various people,'' U.S. Attorney James B. Comey said.
Also Thursday, agents arrested four people and searched five tobacco stores and one home in Minnesota. Authorities said they had evidence the business had engaged in tobacco stamp fraud and had smuggled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lebanon and Jordan.
In one instance, agents discovered nearly $157,000 in cashier's checks sewn into the lining of a handbag that was to be brought aboard a flight destined for Lebanon, officials said.
In New Jersey, agents seized more than $48,000 on Wednesday from two bank accounts from which numerous checks were being sent in packages to Yemen, site of the 2000 terrorist attack on the American naval ship USS Cole, authorities said.
And a federal grand jury in Detroit issued a superseding indictment charging Omar Shishani of conspiring to distribute and manufacture counterfeit securities. He was arrested last July at Detroit Metropolitan Airport upon arrival from Indonesia, when agents discovered he had $12 million in counterfeit cashier's checks.
Don Johnson, the Miami Vice guy was caught recently in Europe apparently being the mule with 8 Billion $'s. That is Billions not Millions.
Who or what political group or country would have 8 billion $'s to smuggle around and laundry. 8 Billion $'s might buy the next presidential election for some rat and 25 rat senators. Here is the interesting link: Don Johnson nabbed being the mule with 8 Billion $'s.
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