Al Qaeda-Linked Suspects Sent To N.Y. On Drug Charges - NBC New York

Al Qaeda-Linked Suspects Sent To N.Y. On Drug Charges



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    Al Qaeda is apparently getting into the drug trade.

    Three al Qaeda terror suspects from Africa were sent to New York Friday on narco-terrorism charges. 

    Drug Enforcement agents said the three men were trying to ship cocaine to raise money for their al Qaeda group as well as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

    Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idriss Abelrahman are expected to arraigned in federal court in Manhattan late Friday.  Prosecutors said the three were members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Megrheb, a north African off-shoot of the sprawling terror organization.

    Its leader, Abdelmalek Droukdal, has publicly acknowledged his groups alignment with al Qaeda and their hoping to bring "grief and sorrow to our enemies the Jews and apostates and crusaders."

    Investigators said three men agreed to help FARC members ship illegal drugs across Africa.  Farc is a group dedicated to the violent overthrow of Colombia's government, and its members have been linked to plots on U.S. soldiers and citizens for our efforts to stem to tide of cocaine trafficking in that country.

    DEA agents used a cooperator to meet with Issa over the last four months of 2009. Issa allegedly said associates in Mali could go around customs there and easily  ship drugs and cash in and out of the country.  Investigators said Toure was based in Ghana and he was allegedly recording stating how his Al Qaeda associates could help ship narcotics through that country as well. The men also allegedly boasted that they had contacts in Brazil.

    In recordings, prosecutors said Abelrahman discussed with a DEA informant that al Qaeda's having a narcotics alliance with FARC made sense since both groups are "against Americans." 

    Reporting by Jonathan Dienst