Paraguay extradites 3 Lebanese suspects to US

AP News
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 3:49 PM
Paraguay extradites 3 Lebanese suspects to US

Paraguay extradited three Lebanese men to the United States on Thursday _ two on drug trafficking charges and another who faces trial in Philadelphia for allegedly selling stolen cell phones and used cars to raise funds for extremist activities in Lebanon.

Paraguayan anti-drug trafficking agent Maria Mercedes Castineira told The Associated Press that the three men were put on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plane after being held for months in Paraguayan jails.

Nemir Ali Zhayter and Amer Zoher El Hossni were captured Aug. 6, 2008, in Ciudad del Este on Paraguay's "Triple Frontier" with Brazil and Argentina. Both were allegedly involved in trafficking cocaine to the U.S., Castineira said.

Moussa Ali Hamdan was arrested last June 16 in the same Paraguayan city shortly after arriving from New York. Prosecutors in Philadelphia said Hamdan, a dual U.S.-Lebanese national, bought what he thought where stolen goods from a U.S. government informant.

Hamdan allegedly exported more than 1,700 cell phones, 400 Sony PlayStation 2 systems and three used cars after the informant told him the money as well as counterfeit currency would go to finance Hezbollah. The Iranian-backed political group, which now has a major role in Lebanon's government, is considered by the United States to be a terrorist organization.

He faces 25 years if convicted of 31 charges filed in November 2009 in Philadelphia. Hamdan said after his arrest that he's been falsely accused, and that if he weren't Muslim would not have been charged.