In bed with the terrorists
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Sunday that Akron, Ohio, authorities have broken up a massive baby formula crime ring. One trafficker was able to unload $44 million worth of baby formula in a mere 15 months. Yes, you read that right. Baby formula. And it gets even better. The Feds are convinced that the ...
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Sunday that Akron, Ohio, authorities have broken up a massive baby formula crime ring. One trafficker was able to unload $44 million worth of baby formula in a mere 15 months. Yes, you read that right. Baby formula. And it gets even better. The Feds are convinced that the black-market baby chow is not just packed with all the vitamins and minerals a growing baby needs, it's also being used to fund terrorist groups.
Since 9/11, federal officials from North Carolina to Texas have broken apart theft rings dealing in massive quantities of baby formula and health and beauty products such as diabetes test strips and contact lens solution.
Most of the theft ringleaders arrested have been of Middle Eastern descent. Federal officials have repeatedly said they worry the black-market profits may be funding terror, but none of the 11 baby-formula cases reviewed by The Plain Dealer involved terror-related charges.
In 2005, the Christian Science Monitor first reported on the murky connection between baby formula and terrorists:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has traced money from these infant-formula traffickers back to nations where terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, are active, investigators say. Then, the trail usually goes cold. Once funds enter such countries, there’s often no way to track them.
Of course, baby formula isn’t the only black market item alledgedly being used to fund terrorist groups. Is it just me, or is there a pattern here?
Newsweek reports that among other crimes, smuggler Imad Hammoud is indicted in Michigan for trying to distribute 90,000 knock-off Viagra tablets, which he planned to sell as the real thing. Hammoud regularly wired a portion of his ill-gotten gains to Hizbullah.
Terrorist-linked smugglers buy cheap smokes in states with low tobacco taxes (Virginia, North Carolina) and unload them in states like New York or New Jersey, where taxes run $1.50 to $2.00 per pack.
From producing dirty diapers to funding dirty bombs. Investigators believe stolen formula is often sold back to the stores from which it was originally stolen.
They do say terrorism is a vicious cycle.
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