Mexican authorities have arrested and extradited a U.S. citizen with suspected ties to the Lebanese extremist organization Hezbollah, according to news reports.
Rafic Mohammad Labbon Allaboun was arrested Saturday in an operation coordinated by Mexico’s National Migration Institute and the Secretariat of Public Security, according to Mexican daily El Universal. He was detained in the city of Mérida, Yucatán, along with two other foreigners wanted in the United States.
FBI spokesman Julianne Sohn said Monday that Rafic Labboun was arrested in Mexico over the weekend on suspicion he violated terms of probation. He was transported to a prison in Houston and appeared in court Monday.
A judge ordered Labboun be returned to the San Jose division of the Northern District of California.
Allaboun was carrying a fake passport identifying him as a citizen of Belize at the time of arrest. Authorities suspect him of involvement with a branch of Hezbollah active in Central America and the Yucatán, according to Mexican daily La Reforma.
Once a prominent Muslim leader in Northern California, Labboun spent over two years in prison for credit card fraud, CBS News reports. Authorities suspected that the $100,000 in credit card fraud was linked to Hezbollah’s money laundering activities, but could not prove the charge in court.
Labboun was born in Beirut, but came to the United States in 1986 and became a dual citizen.
The two other men arrested in Mérida, Wilhelm Dick and Sandra Youssef Safar, are wanted in the United States on charges of credit card fraud, according to El Universal.
CBS News says Labboun was arrested along with two other “known Hezbollah members,” though it does not cite Dick or Yousseff Safar by name.