In light of allegations that a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) initiative targeting Hezbollah drug trafficking was improperly handled, Attorney General Jeff Sessions renewed his support of a full review.
The initiative, known as Project Cassandra, as launched in 2008 in response to evidence that Hezbollah was operating as an international drug and weapons syndicate. It has been reported that the syndicated netted as much as $1 billion per year in trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal activities.
However, approval for investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions were reportedly denied by the Justice and Treasury departments. Reports allege that investigations were stymied because prosecutions could have jeopardized the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
“Protecting our citizens from terrorist organizations and combating the devastating drug crisis gripping our nation are two of the Justice Department’s top priorities,” Sessions said. “Operations designed to investigate and prosecute terrorist organizations that are also fueling that drug crisis must be paramount in this Administration. The DEA has worked tirelessly on this front. I am committed to giving our hardworking and dedicated DEA agents all the tools that they need to allow them to shut down these drug rings.”
Sessions added that he was “hopeful” that the Obama Administration did not create barriers for DEA agents to bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra. He also called it a “significant issue” for the protection of Americans.
“The Department of Justice is absolutely committed to investigating and prosecuting international drug trafficking organizations and with the assistance of our DEA and FBI agents we will leave no stone unturned as we work to making America safer,” Sessions said.