WHO: Narco-terrorists from al-Qaida’s North African branch
WHAT: Three accused al-Qaida members have been arrested in Ghana and brought to New York on charges they conspired to support terrorism by smuggling drugs bound for Europe. This is the first time U.S. authorities captured and charged al-Qaida suspects in a drug trafficking plot in Africa, in a case officials say demonstrates the terror network’s spread into global criminal activity.
HOW: The Drug Enforcement Administration infiltrated western Africa al-Qaida with informants posing as supporters of Colombia’s rebel army, FARC. The three suspects — in their 30s and originally from Mali — allegedly offered to move cocaine from West Africa to North Africa for about $4,200 per kilogram, under protection of heavily armed al-Qaida guards.
WHY: In recent years, South American drug networks are increasingly using Africa to funnel cocaine into Europe more easily, the DEA says.