According to federal prosecutors, Adel El Zabayar travelled to the Middle East to recruit fighters from Hamas and Hezbollah in order to form a terrorist cell to attack the USA.
Prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office in New York charged a 56-year-old Venezuelan lawmaker for participating in narco-terrorism activities. The indictment claimed that the Syrian-descended Adel El Zabayar was part of a cartel led by top Venezuelan politicians called Cartel de Los Soles, or Cartel of the Suns, and was involved in trying to import cocaine in the US. Just three months ago, several other Venezuelan politicians, including President Nicolas Maduro, were charged under similar offences.
Additionally, El Zabayar has been accused of travelling to the Middle East and spending several months there to acquire weapons and recruit fighters from banned organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah. The conspiracy to commit narcoterrorist acts, conspiracy to import cocaine, and the two weapons-related offences that he is charged under, make him liable to face 10 years in jail if he is convicted.
El Zabayar is a former member of Venezuela’s National Assembly and worked closely with President Maduro. He is also the president of the Venezuelan Federation of Arab Associations and Entities. US prosecutors claim that he travelled to Syria and Palestine in 2014 in order to meet with terrorist outfits to obtain weapons.
He is supposed to have obtained anti-tank rocket launchers, AK-103 assaults rifles and sniper rifles from Lebanon. He also recruited and trained people who could form terrorist cells in order to launch attacks against the United States. The prosecutors also allege that he was an interlocutor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and fought alongside Hezbollah in the country’s civil war.
The indictments don’t present much in the way of evidence expect the testimony of eye-witnesses who were present at meetings where El Zabayar was supposed to discussed the details of his plans.
Responding to these accusations on Twitter, El Zabayar said that they were an “insult from the American government against those who do not kneel down before White House dictum” as has been happening with his “brothers and patriots”.
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