Of Masters and Their Slaves

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." ―Ayn Rand

Friday, September 28, 2012

Police auditors join the Hezbollah investigation in Belize

Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck on a forged Belizean passport
Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck
on a forged Belizean passport

The Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) of the Belize Police Department has joined the investigation of how suspected Hezbollah terrorist, Rafic Mohammad Labboun "Allaboun," acquired Belizean documentation.

FIU Director Marilyn Williams told The Reporter that the FIU’s involvement is required under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Prevention Act.

Under the Act, the FIU is required to be a part of all investigations that have or possibly have ties to terrorist activities. The information gathered from these investigations is to be forwarded to international law enforcement agencies, such as the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Hezbollah logo
Hezbollah logo
Hezbollah is a notorious terrorist group that is said to have connections to Al Qaeda, and are suspected to have played a role in the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

Rafic’s detention in Mexico and his possession of Belizean documentation have raised concerns about the presence of terrorist groups in Belize.

Williams went on to explain that the FIU was not involved from the onset because she was out of the country when the information about Rafic’s involvement with Hezbollah was obtained.

Since her return, the case file has been forwarded to the FIU, which will be working with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the matter. Currently the file is under review to see if there will be any criminal charges levied against individuals being investigated on the suspicion of having colluded with Rafic in his illegal acquisition of a Belizean passport, driver’s license and birth certificate under the name Wilhelm Dyck.

It has been confirmed that over the weekend, police located and questioned the brother of the real Wilhelm Dyck, who died two months after he was born.

Police are satisfied the brother had no involvement with Rafic. The Police Criminal Investigation Branch is collaborating with the FIU in the ongoing investigation.

This article was first published by The Reporter in Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Min. Hulse Speaks on the Rafic Labboun Immigration Debacle

Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" a.k.a Wilhelm Dyck
Rafic Labboun "Allaboun"
a.k.a Wilhelm Dyck
And while that happened inside the Chamber, outside we spoke to Senator Godwin Hulse - about his other role - as Minister Of Immigration.

Last week the Prime Minister announced that Hulse was leading a comprehensive review of the system to tie up loopholes and eliminate corruption. That's after Lebanese-American Rafic Labboun - an alleged Hezbollah affiliate - got a Belizean passport in two days - using the identity of Wilhelm Dyck - a Mennonite newborn who died in Shipyard 26 years ago.

Hulse told us that the legislation is archaic:

Hon. Godwin Hulse
Hon. Godwin Hulse
Hon. Godwin Hulse
"We are working feverishly. Even as we speak the staff is putting together some final changes which we have taken to the SolGen to redo the legislation. The legislation is archaic and so there are some gaping holes - put in a nutshell perhaps it was at the time when men were very honorable."

"What we seek to do is to ensure 3 things: first, that anybody who holds a document representing them as part of this beautiful family we call Belizeans that when they come for that document they are who they say they are and they are a Belizean either by birth, decent or registration and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that that is the case. When they step abroad and they represent themselves as a member of this family it can be genuine because for everybody who misrepresents they disenfranchise every one of us: you, myself and all the rest of us will look like some kind of fake, so we are intending of ensuring that."

"We've redone the forms; it will pose a little bit of inconvenience when you now apply for a passport. It's not going to hold up the process but you have to go through a few extra steps. I ask the citizens to bare with that because it's better to be inconvenient at home than to stand alone in Miami or somewhere and be inconvenience."

Jules Vasquez of Channel 7 Belize
Jules Vasquez of Channel 7 Belize
Jules Vasquez
"Was there from your studied opinion any malpractice or malfeasants or corrupt behavior in facilitating nationality papers for Rafic Labboun aka Wilhelm Dyck?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"How the question is poise I can't say there is. What I can say is that because the process and the system was the way it was all those criteria were met; person came with a birth paper, person came with a form sign by a JP, person came with a social security card - he was good to go."

Jules Vasquez
"You believe that the person came with a social security card? We know that no social security card was issued."

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"He came with one that looks like a social security card and so the immigration department I guess at that time and still now is not equipped to verify those. We are going to enhance the identity, so we will make absolutely certain when you say you are Jules Vasquez - that's who you are and when you say you are a Belizean - that's who you are."

Jules Vasquez
"I understand that there are four Nepalese detain with Pakistani passports with Belize Visas right now at immigration department or they were earlier this week. Is this information that you have receive?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"It's coming in bits and pieces, we've heard all sorts things, but where the visas are concern, again we are tightening that up to make sure that only persons who are genuine visitors to this country are allowed. If you are sponsoring somebody things like you will be require to place a bond, persons are require to have departure tickets etc. if you say you are leaving by the airport and you manage not to leave by the airport - the sponsor forfeits his bond and all sorts of things we are tightening up on that process as well."

Jules Vasquez
"However, has there been a recent infraction with visas?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"Not officially informed to us I will say. We've heard it unofficially as well, the Ministry of National Security has been looking into it and our departments have been looking into it. Some texts have been coming in while I was speaking and I haven't have a chance to look at them."

Hulse added that there will also be some personnel transfers coming out of his review.

This article was first published by 7 News Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Rafic Labboun's companion Yasser Safa a wanted man

Yasser Safa
Yasser Safa

Yasser Safa, brother of suspected terrorist abettor Samir Safa, is wanted in both Mexico and Belize.

Safa is wanted in Mexico in connection with an immigration investigation, and he is wanted in Belize to be questioned for his involvement with the alleged terrorist operative Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun, who is said to be a member of the radical Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah.

Safa is being sought to confirm the legality of his presence in Mexico. When Samir was arrested earlier in September, Mexican authorities discovered that he had two sets of documentation: one purporting that he was in Mexico as a tourist, the other that he was there as an immigrant.

Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck
Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck
The all points bulletin (APB) was put out for Yasser, so that his documentation could be reviewed by the Mexican authorities.

According to the   National Security ministry’s Public Relations Officer Delroy Cuthkelvin, both Safa brothers, who are naturalized Belizeans, face possible deportation back to Belize.

Belizean authorities are eagerly awaiting their arrival, as they are wanted for questioning in relation to how Rafic was able to acquire his Belizean documentation and how he assumed the identity of Wilhelm Dyck.
Police investigations continue into the Rafic case and, according to Cuthkelvin, if Yasser Safa is found to have illegitimate documentation, a short judicial process for deportation will ensue before they are deported to Belize.

This article was first published The Reporter in Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hezbollah Connection


The convicted felon Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck on forged Belizean passport
The convicted felon Rafic Labboun
is Wilhelm Dyck on forged
Belizean passport
The Barrow Administration continues to claim that it has no idea how known terror suspect, Rafic Mohammad Labboun "Allaboun," obtained a false Belizean birth certificate, passport and driver’s license in only two days.

Labboun stole a Belizean Mennonite identity, Wilhelm Dyck, with assistance from personnel from the Vital Statistics Unit. He then applied for a Belizean passport under that false identity and obtained the travel document easily from the Belize City passport office. And then he travelled to Belmopan where the Mayor’s son-in-law, Traffic Manager Kevin Jones, personally processed his first time driver’s license even after the cut-off time had passed.

Information to the BELIZE TIMES indicates that Labboun also obtained a fake Social Security Card, which may require an investigation of that office as well.

The Belize Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse
The Belize Minister of Immigration
Godwin Hulse
The Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, has struggled with the investigation. He finds himself in the biggest scandal of recent UDP history. Not only is it a national shame, but also an international embarrassment as Labboun was caught with the Belizean passport by U.S. CIA forces in Mexico. The news went global, and everyone knows it was under Hulse’s watch that such corruption manifested. The embarrassment is intensified by the fact that two weeks later, he still can’t give answers.

And while the investigations into that one case continue, more immigration red flags are surfacing. There is the case of one Fidel Garcia who has a passport addressed at Barrack Road, but there is not such person with that name living on Barrack Road. A series of Lebanese-owned stores do adorn Barrack Road.

There is also the case of Visas issued to questionable persons travelling from Nepal and India. The businessmen travel to Belize through Central and South America and claim their trip is paid for by a certain store in San Ignacio Town.



Barrack Road, Belize City, Belize


This article was first published by The Belize Times.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hezbollah identity theft investigation continues in Belize

Belmopan City employee questioned

Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck on a Belize driver's license
Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck
 on a Belize driver's license

The police investigation into the Belizean passport, driver’s license and birth certificate, issued in late August to alleged Hezbollah associate Rafic Labboun continues. The Criminal Investigations Branch of the police has taken a statement from Kevin Jones, a supervisor at the Belmopan City Council, who issued the driver’s license to Labboun in the name of Wilhelm Dyck. The first inconsistent issue that is to be resolved is how the license was issued in a twelve thousand series while the department is still using the eleven thousand series on the documents. The investigators also noted that citizens can pick up their licenses no later than three-thirty, but Labboun got his Belizean driver’s license at four thirty, one hour after the cut-off time. Police are also questioning the younger brother of Wilhelm Dyck. It appears that he may have provided information of his deceased brother’s identity to others. So the police are trying to determine who knew details about Dyck’s short life and if that could be a possible trail that could lead to Labboun. The case file has been handed over to Marilyn Williams of the Financial Intelligence Unit, but efforts, including voice mails to reach her over the past few days have been futile.

Belize Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse
Belize Minister of Immigration
Godwin Hulse
There is also another case that is being investigated for a possible passport violation issued to one Fidel Garcia of Barrack Road. No one by that name lives at the address. It is a location frequented by naturalized Belizeans from the Middle East. News Five has continued its series on visas issued to people from West Africa, East Africa, South Asia, East Asia and Middle Eastern nations. The most recent case involved visas given to alleged businessmen from Nepal and India. The businessmen travel to Belize via Chile and El Salvador. They claim that their trips are sponsored by the owner of Bismillah Store in San Ignacio and they stay at Belmoral Hotel on Burns Avenue. The names, ages, passport numbers and Belize visa numbers have been handed over to the Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse who says that he will have the matter investigated.  The question of how the owner of a small store can regularly finance the visit of these alleged businessmen to Belize should also be a matter for the Financial Intelligence Unit. Contacts in Nepal and India have been unable to determine if these alleged business persons have returned to their homeland. We’ll keep following the paper and money trails of this story.

Bismillah Store, 3 Burns Avenue, San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
Bismillah Store, 3 Burns Avenue, San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
This article was first published by News 5 Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hezbollah Terrorist Rafic Labboun Obtained Belizean Documents In a Span of Three Days

Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun
Rafic Labboun
(a.k.a. Rafik Mohammed Labboun

Allaboun; a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck)

Last night we told you about the three individuals that were arrested in Mexico, allegedly members of Hezbollah. Two of the individuals, Justin George Abdalah Elders and Yasser Safa are of Belizean Nationality while 44 year old Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun, a Lebanese American, identified himself with a Belizean passport under the name of Wilhem Dyck at the time of his arrest. Here in Belize the news of the men’s detention sent off the alarms at the Ministry of National Security and investigations have revealed that at the time of his arrest Labboun (Allaboun) had a Belizean Passport a Birth Certificate and a driver’s license on him all under the name of Wilhelm Dyck.

Today when we spoke to Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of National Security Delroy Cuthkelvin, he told us that the matter has been turned over to the Criminal Investigations Branch and their findings are alarming.

Delroy Cuthkelvin - Public Relations Officer Ministry of National Security
Delroy Cuthkelvin
Delroy Cuthkelvin
“There are three things that the police authorities have been trying to establish particularly where it concerns the individual that has been referred to in the Mexican Press as an American national with Arab origin let’s say in the East of Belize.  The person has been carrying a fake Belizean passport that was issued in the name of one Wilhem Dyck, two this person has been carrying a birth certificate also in the name of Wilhem Dyck and third that person had been carrying a driver’s license also issued in the name of Wilhem Dyck. One of the things to note is that all these three documents were obtained within the period of about three days on the 29th of August 2012 a birth certificate was issued at the Vital Statistics office, on the 29th of August 2012 an application was supposed to have been made at the passport office in Belize City for a passport to be obtained in the name of Wilhem Dyck and the person paid to have the process expedited which is the normal process he paid $100 to have the passport issued expressed and obtained the passport the following day the 30th of August 2012.  We have been trying to established as I said whether in fact these document were officially issued by our authorities and all indications seem to be that in fact the birth certificate and the passport are concerned that they were in fact officially issued so the police has requested that all the files be turned over to them from the passport office and from the Vital Statistics Office.”

So far investigations have been able to establish that Wilhem Dyke was indeed born in the Village of Shipyard in the Orange Walk District. But he passed away at a very young age.

Delroy Cuthkelvin - Public Relations Officer Ministry of National Security
Forged Belize passport showing Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck
Forged Belize passport showing
Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck
“One of the things we have been able to verified in fact that there was a Wilhem Dyck that was born in shipyard, Orange Walk District on the 8th of February 1976, our police investigations revealed that in fact that person died shortly after he was born about two months later and that the persons parents who on the birth certificate are listed as David Dyck and Judith Dyck are also deceased having died one 20 years ago and the other about 25 years ago and the way that was able to be found out was first the police department had officers visit the Shipyard in Orange Walk and were able to locate a vista of the person who was born with that name, Wilhelm Dyck and she had verified that in fact she had a brother who was born by that name on the 8th of February of 1976 and shortly died after two months later and that her parents, David Dyck and Judith Dyck are in fact now deceased as well  about 20 to 25 years ago, so what the police authorities are trying to do is to establish who made the application for the birth certificate at the Vital Statistical office in Belize City.”

According to Cuthkelvin latest reports indicate that Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun did set foot in Belize.

Delroy Cuthkelvin - Public Relations Officer Ministry of National Security
Belize driver's license showing Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck
Belize driver's license showing
Rafic Labboun as Wilhelm Dyck
The latest report receiving from our police authorities is that the people at the passport office has confirmed to them that in fact this individual did in fact set foot in Belize and did physically went to the office and applied for a passport, again as I said they still have not been able to furnish those hard of the actual application that was made and the police were saying that this is also critical in application to the computer files that were found, they need hard copy of the application because there are certain things contained in those hard copies of the application that will be able to lead them to who exactly received the application and who processed the application and also in terms of the J.P. who certified the person in question, that person has already been identified based on the computer information and that person has been picked up and being questioned by police and the person is saying that basically he need to see a copy of the photo and he would see the application to remember what he needs to remember in that regards.  Where the driver’s license is concern our authorities the police officers also visited the office in Belmopan that issues driver’s licenses and were able to establish that the driver’s license in question which was carrying an ID, that ID is actually a number, that ID number is actually a number of a residence  in Belmopan who also had a driver’s license issued to him in the past, so clearly there was some degree of identity theft that went on there, also at the back of the driver’s license there is a serial number and in the case of this particular driver’s license the series of the number is on the 12000 series and the licensing authorities were able to establish that they haven’t reached that series yet they are still in the 11000 series so clearly the number on that license is not a valid number, as to whether that license was actually issued by the licensing authorities in Belmopan we are still trying to verify and also the address that was used on the driver’s license the police have visited that address in Belmopan which is #20 half-moon street, they didn’t find #20 per say they found 1820 and were able to establish who actually resides at that address and are trying to interview those persons to find out if they have any idea why that address had been used.”

Of note is that the hard copy of the Belizean passport has not been handed over to authorities as yet.  Presently police are questioning the person whose I.D. number was used on the driver’s license. But along with the investigation comes another question, how many people were involved in the issuing of the documents? According to Cuthkelvin heads will roll and no stone will be left unturned.

Delroy Cuthkelvin - Public Relations Officer Ministry of National Security
“There are some weaknesses in the system that will have to be upgraded and one of those weaknesses for example is in the case of the Vital Statistics office, the police were told that they don’t physically file applications by week or by month and so and so there is a difficult in retrieving an application, the hard copy of an application that was made for a copy of a birth certificate and likewise in the case of the passport department clearly there is a problem with filing that they are having so much difficulty not been able so far to retrieve the physical application that was made so immediately right up front that seem to be one of the weaknesses of both of these areas and so the police in addition trying to establish any wrong doing on the part of any one and is also being tasked to question people in those departments as to the process and to see whether the process has weaknesses in it or whether the weakness comes in the execution  of the actual process, whether in fact the process is not proof or whether the process is being carried out to the letter as is been required.  This is a thorough comprehensive investigation, no stones will be left unturned the police is on a full investigation into how this particular individual came by the documented questions and who might have facilitated him and what was the motive whether it was negligence or whether there was some willful act committed on any part of any of our authorities or anyone who has anything to do with Belize, including those persons who were identified by Mexican authorities as having being picked up along with the particular individual, no stones at all will be left unturned and if charges will be levied they will be levied.”


From left, Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck), Yasser Safa and George Abdallah Elders.
From left, Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck),
Yasser Safa and George Abdallah Elders.

The men were arrested Saturday night in Merida through an operation conducted by the National Migration Institute (INM) and the State Police. Allegedly the group arrested was participating in financing activities in an attempt to bail out incarcerated Hezbollah members jailed in the United States.

This article was first published by CTV3 News in Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Rafic Labboun's Hezbollah two-day specials in Belize

Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" as Wilhelm Dyck on a forged Belize passport
Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" as
Wilhelm Dyck on a forged
Belize passport
Jay-Z once rapped, "can't knock the hustle," but when it comes to Belize's Immigration Department - it seems you can't stop the hustle. No matter who's the minister or what safeguards are put in place - someone's always hustling at Immigration - whether its passports in the 80's, Permanent residence in the 90's, passports again in "the oughts", and now Rafic Labboun's Hezbollah two-day specials in 2012…there's always something up at Immigration.

And, insiders will tell you that how it's set up, because there are times when high officials also need a system with loopholes to exploit for their political ends, or just regular "ends."

But, regardless, the effort to clamp down continues. Today the Prime Minister told us that Immigration Minister Hulse and his Minister of State Penner held a meeting yesterday to get tighten up and batten down:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize
Hon. Dean Barrow,
the Prime Minister of Belize
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister
"What I will say is that I spoke to Minister Hulse yesterday from Houston. He was in a full scale meeting with the key people in the ministry; the head of the department, the Minister of State and in fact they were agreed a number of new procedures so that that ministry and that Minister of State can get on top of the situation once and for all. I have every confidence that Godwin Hulse will come up with the sorts of structures that will pretty much shut the door on any irregularities that have occurred."

Reports are that police are now investigating new reports of another person who also got a passport with a false birth certificate two weeks ago.

This article was first published by 7 News Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wikileaks from U.S. Embassy in Belize show Hezbollah in Belize for years

Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Rafik Mohammad Labboun Allaboun; a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck)
Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Rafik Mohammad Labboun
Allaboun; a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck)
The recent capture of Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Rafik Mohammad Labboun Allaboun; a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck), who acquired a Belize passport and other documents in a matter of three days, is a high profile case of a very old program.

Fraudulent passports and visas given to facilitate human trafficking of Chinese, Sri Lankan, Nigerian and Somali nationals to the United States has been regularly reported by News Five over the past few years. Labboun’s brief two day encounter in Belize has eclipsed a case that few persons have been aware of in the Jewel.

Wikileaks
Wikileaks
A Wikileaks cable dated April 4, 2008, purportedly from the U.S. Embassy in Belize, about terrorism suspects in Belize was released one year ago, on September 11, 2011. The cable suggested that a Pakistani-Belizean national was involved with drug trafficking, money laundering, and had possible ties to the dangerous Hezbollah and al-Qaeda terrorist networks.

The Pakistani national owned a business in the Corozal Free Zone and his operations involved Lebanese-Belizeans.  He recruited individuals to carry small quantities of drugs packed as medical supplies from his Belize pharmacy to Mexico and to the U.S. border.  He allegedly used Belizean and Mexican taxi drivers and bus operators to transport the drugs, using Mexican bus terminal workers and vendors as couriers.

The Pakistani businessman is also an owner of a salon in Tijuana, Mexico, where he used his girlfriend to distribute drugs in the area. When in Tijuana he goes by the alias, Doctor Vegas. In addition to keeping a house to stage his drug shipments in Chetumal, he employed Belizean nationals and a Lebanese Belizean called “Ziah.”  He was believed to have been involved in money laundering, drug trafficking, and firearms smuggling. The cable goes on to say that both Ziah and Doctor Vegas are assisting the international terrorist organization Hezbollah, either indirectly or directly.  It seemed that these individuals have been under surveillance for quite some time as the cable says that, “Lebanese-Belizeans have long been tied to stolen vehicles being shipped to Lebanon, and suspected ties to Hezbollah. Other sources have provided evidence of human smuggling.”

This article was first published by News 5 in Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Two Belizeans and an American linked to Hezbollah terrorist group arrested in Mexico

The Hezbollah operative and convicted felon Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck
The Hezbollah operative and convicted felon
Rafic Labboun "Allaboun" a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck.
Labboun is an imam at Shia Association of Bay Area

(Saba Islamic Center of San Jose, California).

The arrest of two Belizean-Lebanese men, their family and an American-Lebanese is making news around the globe after they were accused of being linked to the Hezbollah terrorist network. The arrests were made on Saturday, September 8th, in Merida City in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. The three men arrested were Belizeans Justin Yasser Safa, George Abdalah Elders and Rafic Mohammad Labboun "Allaboun" a Lebanese/American national.

According to multiple Mexican media reports, all three men were arrested in a house belonging to Safa located on street 41-B, between 56 and 5 in the colony of Francisco de Montejo in the western part of Merida, late Saturday, September 8th. The raid involved the use of armored vehicles as well as a Barret M-82, sometimes referred to as a Light Fifty ‘anti materiel’ rifle. When police stormed the building they found Safa along with his Belizean-born wife Janine Gabb and their children. Elders, who is Safa’s brother was also on the property and was initially detained but eventually released because he legally lives in Mexico. Allaboun was also detained and according to reports, while the Belizeans were able to provide valid Belizean documentation, Allaboun presented a fake Belizean passport in the name of a Mennonite Wilhelm Dick.

The Mexican National Migration Institute (INM) and the police were working in conjunction with US Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Reports in the Mexican press suggest that intelligence agencies in the U.S. were tracking the group as, “part of a cell of Hezbollah-linked Arab terrorists who were operating in Mexico and Central America.” According to multiple Mexican news reports Labboun Allaboun is linked to the September 11, 2001 attack of the Twin Towers in New York City, New York and it is being alleged that the group arrested were participating in financing activities in an attempt to bail out incarcerated Hezbollah members jailed in the United States.

Speaking to the Belizean press, Yasser Safa categorically denied being linked with the Hezbollah terrorist network. “I don’t have time to go with terrorist people; I don’t go like that. We very sudden find out that he is a terrorist and all the information come in by the TV and the newspapers and everything come back to me. And I know nothing about his past. Now dehn people say I am a terrorist,” said Safa in an interview with Channel 5 News.

Yasser Safa
Yasser Safa
Yasser Safa is notorious in Belize, having been linked to check fraud in 2004. He was also detained in Panama in 2006 as part of a drug bust but was later released for lack of evidence. Safa was also linked to the sale of stolen vehicles being trafficked through the Belize-Guatemala Border. George Abdalah Elders on the other hand was a mechanic on Coney Drive in Belize City. Safa said that since he has been released the Mexican media has singled him out as a terrorist. “The police of Merida, Yucatan, they already said that they have nothing against me; they noh have nothing. Only the news them make this story that FBI looking for me. And I already talked to the Big Chief of Police. We gone to a lot of people here and I am here in the street and I noh have no problem,” explained Safa who owns Habibi Restaurant in Merida. The Belizeans have been released by Mexican authorities while Mohammed Labboun Allaboun was deported to the U.S. a few hours after his arrest, early on Sunday September 9th.

Because of the Belizean passport in the name of Wilhelm Dick that was given by Allaboun claiming to be his identity, the Ministry of National Security has ordered an investigation led by the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) of the Belize Police Department. It is uncertain how Allaboun managed to get hold of a Belizean passport in the name of Wilhelm Dick however the investigation so far shows Wilhelm Dick was registered to have born in Shipyard in 1976 to parents David and Judith Dick. The infant died a few weeks after birth.

Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of National Security Delroy Cuthkelvin
Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of
National Security Delroy Cuthkelvin
Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of National Security Delroy Cuthkelvin explained what the investigation has showed so far. “He was as well carrying a driver’s license also in the name of Wilhelm Dick and that driver’s license had an address that is a Belmopan address; Number 20 Halfmoon Street. Indeed an application was made at the Vital Statistics Office in Belize City for a copy of a Birth certificate for Wilhelm Dick. In fact we were able to establish that that birth certificate was indeed issued on the twenty-ninth of August 2012. We have been able to establish that that very same day, a person posing to be Wilhelm Dick made an application for a Belizean passport at the Passport Office in Belize City; that’s on the twenty-ninth of August, 2012 and that he paid a hundred dollars to expedite the process for the express issuance of the passport. And we’ve also been able to establish that the following day; a passport was indeed issued; that is the thirtieth of August, 2012, in the name of Wilhelm Dick. The police authorities; this investigation has now been turned over to the CIB and they have demanded and requested all the physical files from the Passport Office and from the Vital Statistics Office,” said Cuthkelvin. Because Allaboun did not present a voter’s identification card or a Belize Social Security card along with his passport application, his application had to be handled by a senior Immigration Officer. That person has been identified as Gilroy Guzman who personnel from the CIB are in the process to question.

It is being reported by other media houses in Belize that the passport file for Wilhelm Dick has disappeared. The foreign media are suggesting that Belize is being “flaunted” as a “cover for criminals” and in this case, members of the radical Hezbollah terrorist group.

This article was first published by The San Pedro Sun.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Wilhelm Dyck Situation: Was There Criminal Wrongdoing?


Rafic Labboun a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck
Rafic Labboun a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck
Wilhelm Dyck - AKA Rafic Labboun - last night we told you how he tricked the system and got a Belize identity in 48 hours.

Tonight there is some new information. First, he did get his driver's license from the Belmopan City Council on the strength of his brand new Belizean passport. That driver's license - as you can see here - puts his address as 20 Half Moon street and is valid until 2014. But something is still amiss because the number on the front of the license - as we understand it - had been assigned to another Belmopan resident - it is 2592 -while the number on the back is in the twelve thousand series when the council is still only issuing in the eleven thousand series. When we called the council today to inquire about the procedure to get a new license - they said those procedures were being revised.

Next, police have interviewed the Immigration Supervisor at the Belize City Office who approved the passport application. He is Gilroy - not Horace - Guzman - and he spoke to police this morning at the Immigration office in the presence of his attorney Phillip Palacio. According to reports, Gilroy Guzman told police that he approved the application because he was presented with a Social Security card for Wilhelm Dyck. However, our checks showed that there is no Social Security Card legitimately issued in the name of Wilhelm Dyck. Irregular, and the CIB office has compiled a file and forwarded it to the DPP for her perusal.

But there is a shortage of evidence because the passport application for Wilhelm Dyck has disappeared from the Immigration office as has the application for his birth certificate at the Vital Stats unit.

That birth certificate says that Wilhelm Dyck was born in Shipyard in February 1976 - and indeed, such a person was born there on that date - but the real Wilhelm Dyck died two months later - except that his birth certificate lived on - waiting for someone with inside knowledge of the system to exploit it in a cruel case of identity theft.

Birth certificate of Wilhelm Dyck
Birth certificate of
Wilhelm Dyck
The birth certificate was acquired on August 29th. - the passport applied for on the same day using that birth certificate - and then, with the expedited fee paid, the passport was ready the next day - which left only the driver's license. That was gotten on August 31st. - three critical pieces of ID - a sort of hat trick, pulled off in just 48 hours - for a US fugitive on the run.

So then we are left with Mr. Safa. News reports from Mexico said it the man posing as Wilhelm Dyck, Rafic Allaboun was with Yasser Safa - but an official release from the Immigration Department in Mexico identifies their only detainee as Yasser Safa's brother, Samer Youssef Safa.

The fact is, both Safa's, Yasser and Samer are living in Merida along with Yasser Safa's Belizean wife Janine Gabb, their children and George Abdallah Elters - formerly a mechanic on Coney Drive in Belize.

Samer Safa though is the only one who has been detained by Mexican Authorities - and will go before a Federal court according to Mexican news media.

The offence he is accused of is unclear - but 7News has obtained copies of his documents, which show that he has a Mexican Immigrant card along with a Belizean passport, Belize City driver's license, a Belizeans social security card and a Belizean voter's ID.

This article was first published by 7 News Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Plot thickens in alleged Hezbollah terrorist with Belizean passport

Rafic Labboun's Mexican mugshot
Rafic Labboun's Mexican mugshot
The Immigration supervisor who reportedly approved the passport application of alleged Hezbollah terrorist, Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun, without the provision of pictures has reportedly given a statement to the police.  Love News has confirmed with the Government’s spokesman, Delroy Cuthkelvin that Gilroy Guzman, who is stationed at the Belize City Immigration Office, told police in the presence of his attorney, that he approved Labboun’s passport application after Labboun showed him a Belize Social Security card.  But what is not clear is whether Guzman made a copy of that card, as would be expected.

Labboun (Allaboun), as we have reported, is the man who, on August thirtieth, acquired a Belizean passport, after having paid for expedited services the day before.  As it turns out, the investigation has so far unearthed that when Labboun applied to the Vital Statistical Unit of the Registry Department for a copy of a birth certificate for a deceased child, that application as well either disappeared from the records or was never entered, similar to the passport application he made.

Rafic Labboun's forged Belize Driver's License
Rafic Labboun's forged
Belize Driver's License
Labboun (Allaboun), who also acquired a forged driver’s license from the Belmopan City Council’s Licensing Authority, was allegedly trying to steal the identity of the deceased Mennonite child, Wilhelm Dyck, who died at the age of two months in 1976.  Love News understands that it was Labboun (Allaboun) himself to visited the Immigration office on August twenty ninth to apply for and on the following day received the newly issued passport in the name of Wilhelm Dyck.  The matter has become a full fledge Crimes Investigations Branch investigation which is looking at possibly other persons in the Immigration, Vital Statistics, Social Security Board and Belmopan City Council’s Licensing Authority, whose license issued to Labboun bears a number series still not being used in their system.  The investigation is also looking at how this license was issued when that Authority had established that their number series up to that point of the issuance only ran up to the eleven thousand range.  Labboun’s license bears a series in the twelve thousand range.

Rafic Labboun's forged Belize passport
Rafic Labboun's forged
Belize passport
Labboun (Allaboun), reportedly travelled to Mexico after he acquired his Belizean passport, met with Yasser Safa and George Abdallah Elters, two Belizeans.  Mexican authorities now have interests in Yasser Safa, along with Safa’s brother, Samir Safa, for irregularities surrounding documentation they have shown that have raised their suspicion.  According to information Love News has picked up, Yasser Safa is already in Mexican police custody while they close in on the other Safa on allegations that they possess Mexican immigrant and tourist status.  While this is happening, Belizean authorities are also looking to see if the two men, who are also naturalized Belizeans, can be deported back to Belize to help with the local investigation of Labboun.  El Diario de Quintana Roo also states that quote,  “…the U.S. Embassy in Mexico found evidence in Chetumal and Belize, at least in 2009, there was presence of radical Islamic groups such as Hezbollah.  According to information from the U.S. diplomatic corps, Hezbollah cells in that year would have used the same routes of drug trafficking and undocumented to reach northern neighbor.”  Love News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

This article was first published by Love TV in Belize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Hezbollah terror suspect Rafic Labboun detained in Central America with fake documents

A terror suspect belonging to deadly Hezbollah has been arrested in Belize after he was found in possession of fake birth certificate, passport and a driver’s license all obtained within 48 hours, Belize Times reported.

Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun
Rafic Mohammad Labboun "Allaboun"
Rafic Mohammad Labboun "Allaboun," who is on terror watch, has obtained the documents by presenting a fake name and bogus checks. According to the investigators the name provided was genuine, but the person has passed-away a long time ago.

Fill text for the article that appeared on Belize Times is below… Belize risks being plunged into terror watch in the eyes of the international community following the arrest of an alleged terror suspect who was caught using a Belizean passport. So far, investigations have revealed that Rafic Labboun obtained the passport just 14 days ago, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Preliminary investigations into Labboun’s activities in Belize have revealed a web of corruption that persists in Belize and is encouraged by a lack of political will to implement reforms. Labboun was not only able to obtain a first-time Belizean passport in less than 24 hours, but he also obtained a valid birth certificate and driver’s license in 72 hours.

Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck, a deceased Mennonite infant, on a forged Belizean passport
Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck,
a deceased Mennonite infant,
on a forged Belizean passport
Normal Belizeans wait 3 days to a week, or sometimes forever, to get their passports. Birth certificates take no less than 24 hours and sometimes weeks to process. But not for Labboun. On August 29th 2012 he went to the Vital Statistics Unit where he applied for a birth certificate in the name of Wilhelm Dyck. Checks have shown that Dyck was a real person. He was born on February 1976, but died two months in April 1976. Only someone who works inside the VSU would have been aware of this information, signalling inside collusion. The certificate was provided the following day, August 30th.With a newly printed birth certificate, Labboun used his new Belizean identity to apply for a Belizean passport. His application was reportedly signed by Justice of the Peace Julianna Arana and was taken to the Passport Office in Belize City. Coincidentally, Arana’s house burnt down in a suspected arson over the weekend as she attended a funeral outside of Belize City. Information suggests that upon inspecting the first time application, the junior officer at the passport office refused the application since it required a physical identification. But the applicant decided to override the officer and went to a senior immigration office. Shortly after, the passport application was accepted and Labboun collected his new Belize/CARICOM passport.

Next Labboun wanted a driver’s license, and investigations show, he applied for it in the City of Belmopan on August 31st 2012. A copy of the issued driver’s license card now obtained by Police shows that the number series doesn’t even correspond with the current number series.

Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck) preaching at Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward, CA.
Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck) preaching at Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward, CA.

The investigations are just starting, but already they paint a very messy picture. The Police have been unable to obtain the actual application forms for Allabboun’s birth certificate and passport. Those have disappeared from the Vital Statistics Unit and the Passport Office in Belize City.

So, how could such an individual so easily obtain valid Belizean documents? Who are the insiders in the VSU and Passport Office? These are the questions that investigators are seeking answers to.Interestingly, none of the Ministers of Immigration, who normally have all the answers and love the media limelight, are showing their faces to answer questions. Barrow Administration officials are apparently hiding from the tough questions, when this is a matter of serious national security.

Elvin Penner, who is the Minister designated to Immigration, was caught as recent March of this year, personally paying for nationality documents and passports for new residents. Did Labboun recognise how loose the immigration policies are and decided to make his move?

Hezbollah suicide bombers parading in Lebanon
Hezbollah suicide bombers parading in Lebanon

And where is Carlos Perdomo, the former Immigration Minister, under whose watch planes landed at the international airport at nights loaded with illegal Chinese migrants who had Belizean Visa documents. Police claimed that the Visa was provided illegally by inside Passport employees, but none were ever convicted of the crimes.

The Prime Minister did remove Perdomo, however, replacing him with Mr. Goody-too-shoes Godwin Hulse who has allowed having someone such as Elvin Penner take charge of Belize’s passport and visa Departments.

This article was first published by Guardian Express.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mexico Extradites Suspected Hezbollah Member

Mexican authorities have arrested and extradited a U.S. citizen with suspected ties to the Lebanese extremist organization Hezbollah, according to news reports.

Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck
Rafic Labboun is Wilhelm Dyck
Rafic Mohammad Labboun (Allaboun) was arrested Saturday in an operation coordinated by Mexico’s National Migration Institute and the Secretariat of Public Security, according to Mexican daily El Universal. He was detained in the city of Mérida, Yucatán, along with two other foreigners wanted in the United States.

FBI spokesman Julianne Sohn said Monday that Rafic Labboun was arrested in Mexico over the weekend on suspicion he violated terms of probation. He was transported to a prison in Houston and appeared in court Monday.

A judge ordered Labboun be returned to the San Jose division of the Northern District of California.
Labboun was carrying a fake passport identifying him as a citizen of Belize at the time of arrest. Authorities suspect him of involvement with a branch of Hezbollah active in Central America and the Yucatán, according to Mexican daily La Reforma.

Once a prominent Shiite-Muslim leader in Northern California [active at Saba Islamic Center, Fatimiyya Islamic Center, Iraqi Community Association, etc.], Labboun spent over two years in prison for credit card fraud, CBS News reports. Authorities suspected that the $100,000 in credit card fraud was linked to Hezbollah’s money laundering activities, but could not prove the charge in court.

Labboun was born in Beirut, but came to the United States in 1986 and became a dual citizen.
According to El Universal, the two other men arrested in Mérida are George Abdallah Elders and Yasser Youssef Safa.

CBS News says Labboun was arrested along with two other “known Hezbollah members,” though it does not cite Elters and Safa by name.

This story was first published by Fox News Latino.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Belizean-Hezbollah Affiliates?

A Trio of Lebanese men caught in Merida, Mexico, with Belizean passports has raised concerns that there may have been a terrorist cell operating in Belize.

Forged Belize passport under the name of Wilhelm Dyck used by Rafic Mohammad Labboun (Allaboun)
Rafic Mohammad Labboun (Allaboun)
 is Wilhelm Dyck of Belize
The men are Yasser Safa - who became notorious for various hustles while he was in Belize, George Abdalah Elters who was a mechanic on Coney Drive in Belize City and a man named Rafic Mohammad Labboun (Allaboun) who had a Belizean passport in the name Wilhelm Dick. According to the Yucatan Times Labboun is a suspected member of the terrorist network Hezbollah. Mexican police descended on his Merida home in force on Saturday night, which is when he presented himself with the fake passport.

George Abdalah Elters and Justin Yasser Safa were also arrested with him. Media outlets in Mexico report that they both had valid immigration forms - and had entered through Chetumal. Some reports suggest that Labboun also entered through Chetumal - while other reports say that he flew into Cancun and others say he flew straight from Los Angeles.

And while there is a great deal of chatter - it is unconfirmed: The fact is Labboun is an American Citizen - who has lived on and off in the US for over 26 years, and was convicted of credit card fraud. He served a custodial sentence and was out on parole - but violated the terms of that parole when he left the US.

Mexican authorities wasted no time with him - and got him out to Houston on the next plane. Yesterday he appeared before a judge in Texas for violating his parole. He was returned to California for imprisonment.

Flag of the international terrorist organization Hezbollah
Flag of the international
terrorist organization Hezbollah
From there - the story takes on a life of its own. According to multiple news reports in Mexico and right wing sites in the United States, Labboun as well as Safa and Elters have suspected ties to Hezbollah - which the US lists as a terror group. Additionally, those news reports say that he is involved with a branch of Hezbollah active in Central America and Mexico. And while there's a lot of speculation - there's not much word on what happened to Safa and Elters - who are both well known in Belize. Some Mexican reports say they along with Safa's children were released because they were legally in Mexico, while other reports say they are detained for further investigation.

We tried but there was no comment from the US Embassy in Belize or the Immigration Department in Belmopan. According to the Ministry of National Security Wilhelm Dick has a Belizean birth certificate which says he was born in Shipyard in 1976 - and he has a Belizean drivers license issued in Belmopan. The Ministry is working to see if it is the case of identity theft or an invented identity.

And if that wasn't enough a Wanted US national Khaffak Sahib Ansari was captured on San Pedro Ambergris Caye, on Thursday September 6th. According to the San Pedro Sun, 46 year old Ansari, who was convicted in the U.S. for fraud in May of 2012, was detained by local authorities after a woman made a report against him at the local police station.

Investigators decided to run a search of his name in their database and found that Ansari should have been serving a jail sentence in the USA for charges of fraud.

This article was first published by 7NewsBelize.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

Monday, September 10, 2012

INM Bulletin: Rafic Labboun Was Deported to the United States


Rafic Labboun
Rafic Labboun
The National Migration Institute (INM), reports that Rafic Labboun abroad, a U.S. citizen, was arrested in the city of Merida, Yucatan, last Saturday (September 8, 2012).

This individual is subject to an arrest warrant issued by a District Judge in California, USA, for the crime of fraud. For its location, INM officials, aided by state police, conducted an immigration review, locating Rafic Labboun, who was accompanied by Samer Youssef Safa.

Both foreigners were taken to the detention facility in Merida, Yucatan. Yesterday (Sunday, September 9, 2012) Rafic Labboun was deported to the United States, based on the provisions of Article 144, Section V of the Migration Act, for having presented to INM fraudulent identification documentation.

Regarding Samer Youssef Safa,  INM started Administrative Migration Procedure, hosting it in said detention facility, issuing for this purpose the submission agreement provided for in Article 99 of the Migration Act.

This bulletin was released by INM on September 10, 2012.

Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.

The Scope Of The War

September 24, 2012: The defense ministry (SEDENA, Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional) estimated that the illegal drug business employs around 500,000 people in Mexico. This data was revealed in a closed session last month devoted to the defense ministry’s efforts to fight drug trafficking. The comments are now public record. Since they first appeared in print, the estimates have been showing up in other sources and have fired numerous discussions about how successful a drug war can ever be when a half million citizens are involved in the drug business. It was estimated that around 300,000 people are involved in planting drug-producing plants. Around 160,000 people are involved in drug distribution (wholesale and retail), transporting the drugs to distributors, or providing information to the cartel leaders (ie, work as informants). Included in this group are what the defense secretary called small-scale drug dealers (small fry according to one translation). Approximately 40,000 people can be called cartel members. This means they hold command or operational positions of some sort in a criminal gang. Lawmakers who heard the defense secretary’s report told media that the defense ministry has concluded that efforts by various security agencies to attack cartel finances have worked, which is the reason so many cartels have moved into extortion rackets and kidnapping operations. The lawmakers face constant (and understandable) complaints from constituents about the plague of kidnappings. Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Mariano Francisco Saynez Mendoza, also spoke to the representatives. He told the deputies that the Mexican Navy (which includes Mexico’s Marine Corps) will continue to fight against organized crime organizations “until the civil authorities have sufficient capability to undertake this mission.” The statement attributed to the admiral indicates that he believes civil security authorities are not yet up to the task. This report came from Mexico’s top military leaders. They are secretaries but they are not civilians. Mexico does not have a joint military command structure like the United States.

SEDENA controls the Mexican Army (which includes the Mexican Air Force). The Navy operates as an independent branch under the Secretary of the Navy’s command. The Cartel War has enhanced the Mexican military's reputation with the Mexican citizenry. The military already ranked high in terms of public esteem. The public regards the military as more honest and more reliable than other government institutions. --- Al Nofi and Austin Bay

September 22, 2012: The government will continue to review the U.S. investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, a failed U.S. government operation that its proponents claimed would help identify how and to whom weapons from the U.S. were smuggled to Mexican drug cartels. The U.S. Justice Department conducted the investigation and recommended that 15 Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) employees be disciplined. The operation involved somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 weapons, many of them assault rifles. BATFE began the operation in 2009. Two Fast and Furious weapons were used in a December 2010, shootout in Arizona. A U.S. Border Patrol agent was slain in that incident. Other Fast and Furious weapons were used in numerous murders in Mexico.

Seven dead, dismembered, and burned bodies were discovered in Michoacan state (western Mexico). Several cartels are fighting a turf battle in the state, including the Jalisco New Generation, La Familia (also knowsn as La Familia Michoacana), the Knights Templar faction, and the increasingly powerful Los Zetas.

September 21, 2012: Officials in Coahuila state reported that 131 prisoners escaped from the Piedra Negras jail on September 17. So far three of the inmates have been recaptured. There is evidence that Los Zetas cartel was behind the mass jail break. The cartel had bribed or intimidated prison guards and the guards let the prisoners escape. The warden, the prison’s chief of security, and several guards were arrested on September 19. The government indicated that Los Zetas may be trying to replenish their ranks of gunmen – and note that these are trained and experienced gunmen. A Mexican media source claimed that over 500 members of Los Zetas have either escaped from jail or been released since 2008.

September 20, 2012: The army has deployed soldiers to combat drug gang violence in the town of Nezahualcoyotl, an eastern suburb of Mexico City. The soldiers are part of a 1,000 man task force which includes federal police agents and local police. Both Los Zetas and the La Familia cartel are believed to be behind the violence in the town.

September 18, 2012: The U.S. and Mexico are discussing ways to improve Mexico’s legal system. The U.S. State Department has a program that includes training prison wardens and improving prison security. The Mexican government has emphasized improving the judiciary (ie, better trained and more ethical judges) and ending corruption in the police forces. Mexico is also altering the way it conducts criminal trials and is introducing court room procedures similar to those followed in the U.S. The U.S. has provided a training program for Mexican judges in U.S. court procedures. According to official figures, around 7,500 Mexican federal judicial personnel (judges, clerks, etc.) have had training in U.S. court procedures.

September 17, 2012: A major jail break occurred in the city of Piedras Negras (Coahuila state, northern Mexico, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas). Approximately 130 prisoners escaped from the jail.

Police identified 17 bodies discovered near the town of Tizapan El Alto (Jalisco state) on September 16. The dead were individuals missing from nearby villages. Officials speculated that the murders were a revenge slaying by a drug cartel. Revenge for what? Los Zetas and a faction of the Sinaloa cartel are fighting for control of the region and that means controlling the population through either fear or payoffs. The bodies (of men and boys) were found mutilated and in chains.

September 14, 2012: A San Antonio, Texas woman pled guilty to trying to buy three AK-47 assault rifles which she intended to sell to a Mexican drug cartel. She was caught in a sting operation in Austin, Texas by police. She believed she was buying three fully automatic AK-47s.

September 13, 2012: Mexican Marines arrested Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, a senior commander in the Gulf cartel. He was arrested in Tampico, Tamaulipas state. At one time Costilla was a municipal police officer in Matamoros (across the border from Brownsville, Texas).

September 12, 2012: Police arrested the senior commander and founder of a splinter faction of the Milenio drug cartel. Ramiro Pozoz Gonzalez was head of La Resistancia. La Resistancia operates in Jalisco state.

September 10, 2012: The Democratic Revolutionary Party’s (PRD) perpetual candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (aka AMLO), announced that he is leaving the party. He said he intends to lead what he called a campaign of peaceful resistance to the Mexican government.


Rafic Labboun upon his arrest in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Rafic Labboun upon his arrest in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Mexican security authorities arrested Rafic Mohammad Labboun Allaboun, a U.S. citizen allegedly tied to the militant Islamist group Hezbollah, in the city of Merida (Yucatan state). He has been turned over to U.S. authorities.

September 9, 2012: Mexican security officials believe that the splits in Los Zetas cartel are very real. The military has taken the view that the internal battles are the result of the continuous pressure placed on the cartel. The Zetas have lost a lot of gunmen in battles with the Mexican Army and Mexican Navy marines. A lot of their assets have been seized. Moreover, a number of senior leaders and their lieutenants have been arrested and killed. That means the lines of control have blurred, for conducting operations and distributing cartel profits. Police and prosecutors have reported that arrested Zetas confirm that a lot of the infighting is over how the cartel’s money is split. That said, the Zetas are still active and still ruthless. So far the Zeta against Zeta battle has been ugly but an all-out Zeta internal war would be worse.

September 8, 2012: Federal police arrested Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza in an operation in Sonora state. Sanchez was allegedly involved in the December 2010, murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The agent was killed with a weapon smuggled into Mexico through Operation Fast and Furious.

This article was first published by Strategy Page.


Rafic Labboun is an imam with the Northern California-based Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Center of San Jose) and Fatimiyya Islamic Center of Hayward.