By Dialogo January 16, 2012 The Los Zetas drug cartel has for years collaborated with a Lebanese man who has ties to the militant Middle East Shiite group Hezbollah, according to U.S. federal authorities. Ayman Joumaa, 47, has coordinated cocaine shipments and laundered money for the cartel, U.S. authorities said. Joumaa, also known as “Junior,” was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Nov. 23, said U.S. Justice Department officials, who released details of the indictment on Dec. 13. Joumaa is accused of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiring to commit money laundering, U.S. justice officials said. If convicted on these charges, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A sign of Iranian activity in Latin America? A Hezbollah-Zetas link could have far-reaching political implications for Mexico, the United States and Iran, analysts said. Such a connection could signal the beginnings of increased influence in Latin America by Iran, a Shiite nation that reportedly is seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons. Joumaa is not believed to be in custody, and his exact whereabouts are unknown. The New York Times said it called him in Beirut but did not reach him. The indictment alleges that Joumaa has ties to Medellin, Colombia, the onetime cocaine capital of the world. It also publicly links Mexican drug cartel activity to a major bank in Beirut. U.S. officials suspect the bank is a supporter of Hezbollah. “Money fuels the drug trade, and Mr. Joumaa is alleged to be at the center of it all – working with those producing the vast majority of the world’s cocaine to get their drugs safely into the hands of Mexican cartels, and then moving hundreds of millions in proceeds all around the world so the money can’t be traced back to them in Colombia,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, whose territory includes the Eastern District of Virgnia. “Organized crime networks know no borders, and neither can U.S. law enforcement. My office has a long tradition of tackling international crimes occurring in our district, and this case is yet another example that we are now aggressively taking that fight abroad,” MacBride said Tuesday. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart agreed. “Ayman Joumaa is accused of facilitating the shipments of huge amounts of cocaine for the United States while laundering the proceeds all over the globe,” said Leonhart. “According to information from sources, his alleged drug and money laundering activities facilitated numerous global drug trafficking organizations, including the criminal activities of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel. DEA and our partners will continue to expose and dismantle these worldwide networks.” In January, the U.S. Treasury Department labeled Joumaa a drug kingpin under provisions of law informally known as the “Kingpin Act.” At that time, U.S. officials described Joumaa’s alleged smuggling and money laundering activity in South America, Africa and Europe. A long partnership with Los Zetas But the indictment details his alleged heavy involvement with Los Zetas and Mexican transnational criminal activity. For example, it alleges Joumaa coordinated the smuggling of at least 85 tons of Colombian cocaine through Mexico in partnership with Los Zetas. Between 1997 and 2010, the indictment charges, Joumaa laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds on behalf of Los Zetas. The indictment does not specifically mention Hezbollah, but U.S. law enforcement officials said evidence points to an indirect connection between the Mideast terrorist group and the Mexican transnational criminal enterprise. And perhaps the strongest evidence of that connection is the Beirut-based bank with a Canadian presence named the Lebanese Canadian Bank. In February, Treasury invoked a rarely used provision of the U.S. Patriot Act (which was signed into law after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) to declare the bank an institution with “primary money-laundering concerns.” This declaration made the bank off-limits to other U.S. financial institutions. The announcement of the indictment against Joumaa is not the first time U.S. officials have alleged connections between Mideast figures and Mexican drug cartels. In October, U.S. authorities arrested an Iranian-American who is charged with trying to recruit Mexican drug cartel hit men to assassinate a Saudi diplomat on behalf of Iran. Drug cartels and terrorists group seen as working together “Very powerful trafficking groups and terrorists organizations are coming together,” a former U.S. DEA administrator, Michael Braun, told a Congressional committee at an Oct. 13 hearing into the alleged assassination plot. U.S. officials said they’re worried that Hezbollah may be sharing knowledge of how to build sophisticated bombs with Los Zetas. Hezbollah is also known for its tunnel-building knowledge – a key tool that has been employed in Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs into the United States. Hezbollah has long been considered a terrorist organization by the United States and is blamed for several high-profile attacks against U.S. facilities in recent decades. The most notorious assault linked to Hezbollah was the 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, in which 60 people, including scores of U.S. Marines, were killed. Hezbollah fought a bloody war against Israel in 2006. Since then, the group’s political arm has made increasing efforts to appear as a legitimate political faction of the Lebanese government. But the New York Times reported this week that the very war it waged against Israel might have encouraged Hezbollah to increase its criminal activity in Latin America, to help fund the group’s political efforts. Joumaa appears to be a key link in this connection. The Lebanese citizen is said to speak Spanish fluently, and is believed to have lived in Colombia until about 11 years ago, when he returned to his native Lebanon to escape increased law enforcement scrutiny.
Slugging Yankees first baseman Luke Voit has been placed on the 10-day injured list after being removed from the the team’s 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks Tuesday night.The team initially said Voit was dealing with a core muscle injury and scheduled for an MRI Tuesday night. In putting him on the IL Wednesday morning, the Yankees said he has a sports hernia. Prior to today’s game, the Yankees:- Placed INF Luke Voit on the 10-day IL with a sports hernia- Placed RHP David Hale on the 10-day IL with a lumbar spine strain (retroactive to 7/28)- Recalled RHP Jonathan Holder (#56) and INF Breyvic Valera (#36) from @swbrailriders.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 31, 2019Manager Aaron Boone told reporters (via WFAN) Wednesday morning that the Yankees’ medical staff should know within the next 24 hours whether Voit will need surgery to correct the issue, potentially sidelining him for six weeks, or whether they can treat it day to day with a much quicker return. “Even in talking to Luke during the game when he was coming out, he was having a hard time putting his finger on it,” Boone told reporters after the game Tuesday (via the New York Post). “He just said, ‘I was having a hard time getting loose, before the game and all game.’ Like he didn’t feel like he did anything to it.” Related News Yankees ‘working all angles’ ahead of trade deadline, Brian Cashman says Afternoon baseball as we look to bite back.Powered by @Biofreeze pic.twitter.com/lhOLfkXvz0— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 31, 2019After Voit’s exit, the Yankees inserted third baseman Tyler Wade in Voit’s spot in the order, with Gio Urshela moving from third base to first. Wade, just up from Triple-A, hit an eighth-inning homer, his first of the season and the second of his big league career.Voit’s injury comes as the clock ticks toward the trade deadline. General manager Brian Cashman has been seeking pitching before the 4 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline and recently said he didn’t envision trading for position player at this point of the schedule.The Yankees (67-39) are in first place in the AL East, 7 1/2 games up on the Rays going into Wednesday’s play, so there’s no need to make a panic move. MLB trade rumors: Yankees will not give up top prospect for anyone less than Noah Syndergaard Per the Post’s report: Boone leaned back in his chair, gestured to his core to emphasize the point and said Voit indicated something in his core just felt off.Voit, 28, is slashing .278/.392/.493 with 19 homers and 54 RBIs in 94 games. According to Boone, Voit didn’t mention any tightness or discomfort before Tuesday’s game, but he could be seen wincing on television replays after his third-inning strikeout against Taylor Clarke. Voit was removed in the top of the fifth inning.Voit sustained a lower abdominal strain during the Yankees’ series against the Red Sox in London that cost him only seven games, thanks to the All-Star break.Given the Yankees’ depth, replacing Voit doesn’t appear to be too difficult, though he has been an important piece of the team’s offense, leading in on-base percentage and ranking in the top five in several other categories.”It’s tough when one of your best hitters goes down with who-knows-what,” Aaron Judge said. “We’ll see what the diagnosis is on him and how he’s feeling. Like I’ve said before, when guys go down, people step up.”When Voit missed the time before the All-Star break, the Yankees turned to Mike Ford, Edwin Encarnacion and DJ LeMahieu to play first base, and Encarnacion was set to start there Wednesday afternoon against Arizona. LeMahieu, dubbed by the Post as “the logical choice to play first should Voit miss extended time,” didn’t play Tuesday with a slight groin strain and was not in the lineup Wednesday. MLB trade rumors: Yankees, Phillies among teams interested in starter Tanner Roark Yankees trade rumors: Gleyber Torres ‘off limits’ in discussions for starter
At the European Junior Basketball Championships in Latvia begins today the second round of the competition. Young basketball BiH players thanks to victory over Greece, they are qualified for the second round, and they will play in group E with selections of Russia, France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Serbia.The chosen players of the selector Nenad Marković will play tonight the first match against France. Tomorrow, they meet with Serbia, while on Wednesday they play against Lithuania. The scores from the first round will be carried into the second round were they were defeated by the Czech Republic and Russia.The F-group selections are: Turkey, Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Italy and England.Four teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals, while others will play for the qualifications from 9th to 16th place.(Source:Fena)