Just as the Taliban fund their operations through sales of opium and heroin and Hezbollah is involved in drug trafficking in Latin America, a new report from Spain’s intelligence service has identified drug trafficking as a key financing source.

European cells of Islamic State and other jihadist groups are using their ties to the illicit drug trade to finance their operations in Iraq and Syria, Spanish intelligence says.

According to Spanish intelligence sources, jihadists in the country rely on knowledge of drug smuggling routes to export arms, contraband and new recruits from the EU to Iraq and Syria, while a recent crackdown on legal fundraising for terrorist organisations has lead to an increased trade of illegal arms and drugs such as “cocaine, heroin and hashish”.

According to reports from Spain’s recently established government intelligence and counter-terrorism unit CITCO, 20% percent of those detained in Spain under suspicion of working with Islamic State and other jihadist groups have previously served prison sentences for offences such as drug trafficking or document counterfeiting.

Most of the cocaine destined for Europe, including the UK, has crossed the Atlantic by ship and entered via Spain, according the UK’s National Crime Agency.

Reports vary on the total amassed wealth at Islamic State’s disposal, however it is widely reported the group has around $2 billion in assets including oil revenue and profit from trade on the black market.


EDITOR’S NOTE: In the Newsweek article linked above, Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation claims that “Smuggling drugs, arms, even alcohol is considered forbidden in Islam…” There is actually NO Islamic jurisprudence on this subject. Rafiq’s statement has no merit.

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