The New York Daily News reports on an important Los Angeles story:
WASHINGTON – A seemingly small-time drug ring busted this week in Los Angeles was actually targeted for funding the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the Daily News has learned.
Prosecutors left out the terror tie when they announced Tuesday that federal agents and local cops had arrested a dozen people for allegedly peddling cocaine and counterfeit clothing in Bell, Calif.
But several sources familiar with the investigation said the predominantly Arab-American gang was believed to have smuggled its crime cash to the Iranian-backed terror group.
“This was a classic case of terrorism financing, and it was pretty sophisticated how they did it,” a source close to Operation Bell Bottoms told The News.
Where is the Los Angeles Times on this? Close to nowhere. The paper reported on the arrests the other day, and dropped a couple of very veiled suggestions that there could be a terrorism connection. But the hints were as opaque as they could possibly be:
The focus of the federal investigation was Ali Khalil Elreda, 32, who was detained at Los Angeles International Airport last year, accused of trying to smuggle $120,000 in money orders and cashier’s checks, hidden in a child’s toy, to Lebanon, according to an indictment and an affidavit filed in the case.
In 2005, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department official showed a Senate committee a picture of a tattooed shop owner who had been arrested the year before on charges of selling counterfeit high-fashion merchandise. The tattoo was a symbol of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed guerrillas operating in Lebanon.
. . . .
[T]wo law enforcement sources said Tuesday that the merchant was Elreda.
The article also makes veiled allusions to a five-year-old interview with Asa Hutchinson in which he mentioned investigations in progress, including a “methamphetamine ring allegedly tied to Hezbollah.” The current ring is a cocaine ring.
It’s like the paper was told about the connection, but didn’t report it for some reason. So they just hinted at it.
Or maybe the New York paper just has better sources?