BREITBART — Returning from a week-long research trip to South America, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) tells Breitbart News that intelligence officials in multiple countries have reason to believe that drug trafficking organizations are looking to work with terrorists groups like Hezbollah, but lack the technology to catch illegal money transfers as they happen.
“There is strong speculation by some of the countries that the terrorists seek to collaborate with drug traffickers,” Rep. Pittenger told Breitbart News on Monday, shortly after returning from high-level meetings in Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, and Panama. He complimented the leaders of all four nations, describing them each as being “inclined to being a great partner,” but noted that without the proper tools to build a cases against terror financiers, they can do little to stop illegal activity in their respective countries.
Rep. Pittenger spoke to Breitbart News from South America last week, and made clear his mission was to identify “Who is our partner? What do they need?”
On Monday, he sounded optimistic about cooperation with regional governments. “We have some committed allies in South America,” he noted, describing the president of Paraguay, with whom he met, as a “particularly strong advocate on our behalf” and “a voice of reason and support for us.” He also noted that, of the four nations he visited, Argentina’s law enforcement technology was most advanced.
Even Argentina, however, was lacking in a region known as the “tri-border area,” the remote meeting of the borders of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. “There is very little restriction of travel there,” Rep. Pittenger told Breitbart News, with easily accessible rivers forming some of the boundaries and little government infrastructure to monitor foot traffic. The fact that three countries meet in this region also allows for many law enforcement duties to go unfulfilled by any one nation.