Citing Linkage, NYC U.S. Attorney Combines Drug, Terror Units


Manhattan’s chief federal prosecutor is merging the two units that handle terrorism and international narcotics cases, saying that he wants to focus more on extremist Islamic groups whose members are increasingly turning to the drug trade to finance their activities, the New York Times reports. The move by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara comes as federal officials have suggested that some members of Islamic extremist groups, including Al Qaeda and some of its affiliates, are more frequently in the drug trade – as well as kidnapping and other criminal activities.

By merging the Terrorism and National Security and International Narcotics Trafficking units, Bharara said he is combining two groups that have developed many of the same skills – working overseas, often using classified information, to build complex cases against sophisticated targets. He said the new unit would be better able to bring drug charges against some terrorists, as well as use a new law that gives drug agents the authority to pursue narcotics and terrorism crimes committed anywhere in the world if they can establish a link between a drug offense and a terrorist act or group.

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