TRAFFICKING

Three Charged in al Qaeda Drug Case

Federal prosecutors charged three West Africans on Friday for plotting to transport tons of cocaine across Africa in connection with al Qaeda. This is the first time federal officials exercised a 2006 law created to stop drug trafficking aiding terrorism, specifically in connection to al Qaeda, since the terrorist group tends to finance operations in Africa, among other locations. A majority of the case was based off the work of two informants hired by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, who posed as part of the Colombian rebel group FARC, looking to set up a network of cocaine smuggling across the continent. The agents recorded and videotaped the three men (Oumar Issa, Harouna Touré and Idriss Abelrahman) for four months, but federal law-enforcement officials said none of the evidence backed up their statements of being linked to al Qaeda.