Members of the Hezbollah militant group were detained on charges of using millions of dollars from the sale of cocaine in the United States and Europe to purchase weapons in Syria, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported on Monday.
The United States labels Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, especially after it has sent fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war that has been ravaging almost five years ago.
Leaders of the network’s European cell are among those arrested and taken into custody last week, according to the DEA statement. They included the Lebanese Mohamad Noureddine, who the DEA accuses of being a money launderer for Hezbollah’s financial arm.
The statement said that the United States has labeled Noureddine a specially designated global terrorist.
The DEA did not disclose the total number of those arrested or the place of their apprehension.
The investigation “once again highlights the dangerous global nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism,” the statement said.
Seven countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, were involved in the investigation that started in February 2015 and is continuing.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Noureddine and Hamdi Zaher El Dine, another alleged Hezbollah money launderer. Noureddine’s Trade Point International also was placed under sanctions.