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Notorious Iranian Militant Has A Connection To Alleged Assassination Plot Against Saudi Envoy

The alleged plot began to unravel when Arbabsiar attempted to find a contact in the Mexican underworld

Arbabsiar was charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism, among other charges. His court-appointed attorney said he will plead not guilty.

Several former friends of Arbabsiar’s said in interviews that he was hopelessly disorganized. Shahlai may have not known, or he may have not cared. In either case, his cousin “was a throwaway,” said one U.S. official.

Arbabsiar allegedly told Shah­lai that he might have a connection. He gave Arbabsiar several thousand dollars to return to the United States and get to Mexico, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and court papers.

The alleged plot began to unravel when Arbabsiar attempted to find a contact in the Mexican underworld. Officials said he believed that the nephew of a female friend was a member of Los Zetas, a group formed by ex-Mexican soldiers that acted as an enforcer for the gulf drug cartel before the two groups split in a violent feud. But the nephew, in fact, was a Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

Both the gulf cartel and Los Zetas have been the target of investigations by a DEA strike force operating out of Houston. “Over the past two years, DEA Houston has developed several highly placed confidential sources with direct access to key leadership elements of the cartels,” said a federal law enforcement official.

On May 24, Arbabsiar traveled from Texas to Reynosa, Mexico, to meet with the informant. Arbabsiar allegedly spoke about attacking the Saudi Embassy and asked the informant what he knew about explosives.

In two more meetings in Mexico in July, the informant recorded the conversation as Arbabsiar described his cousin as someone who was “wanted in America” and had been on CNN.

“He’s got the, got the government behind him,” said Arbabsiar, according to court papers. “He’s not paying from his pocket.”

Arbabsiar said he told his cousin that he wanted “another fifteen,” presumably $15,000.

“Next morning, they send one guy, you know, that work for him. He’s like a colonel, the guy,” Arbabsiar said. “He bring the envelope.”

The colonel was Ali Gholam Shakuri, Shahlai’s deputy. Arbabsiar and Shakuri, speaking in code, referred to the plot as buying a Chevrolet.

But Arbabsiar was arrested in New York on a flight from Mexico, where he had been refused entry. He telephoned Shakuri, who also was charged, as federal officials recorded the conversation.

“So buy it, buy it,” said Shakuri.

“Buy it? Okay,” Arbabsiar said.

“Buy it, yes. Buy all of it,” said Shakuri.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/notorious-iranian-militant-has-a-connection-to-alleged-assassination-plot-against-saudi-envoy/2011/10/14/gIQAJ3E6kL_story_1.html

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