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For Immediate Release:
December 19, 2017
Media Contact:
Olga Vega
OlgaV@miamidade.gov
786-258-1635

Commissioner Diaz calls for crackdown on Hezbollah financiers


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz is sponsoring a resolution urging the federal government to crack down on any efforts to raise or launder money for Hezbollah, which was designated a terrorist organization in 1995, and to investigate any companies operating in Miami-Dade County with possible links to financing of terrorist organizations. The resolution is scheduled for a vote at the TODAY'S County Commission meeting.

The resolution is in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio and Congressman Edward Royce to impose further sanctions and penalties on Hezbollah and anyone providing financial or material support to the organization. Penalties would include blocking and forfeiture of assets and revocation of U.S. visas. Congressional action on the issue comes in the wake of the June 2017 indictment of Ali Issa Chamas, a Lebanese national with Paraguayan citizenship and reported ties to Hezbollah, who was extradited to the United States and charged in Miami for conspiracy to distribute cocaine into the United States. A month earlier, Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, that there are more than 420 companies operating in the Greater Miami metropolitan area with ties to the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay border where Hezbollah finance operatives have been identified.

“We need to have zero tolerance for anyone using our community to engage in terror financing through drug trafficking or any other illicit operations,” Commissioner Diaz said.