– MAHMOUD YOUSSEF KOURANI
* Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, a former Hizbullah fighter, was born in 1971 in Lebanon. He entered USA in 2001, after he bribed the Mexican consul in Lebanon, through the Mexican border and settled in Detroit. As he came to USA Mahmoud Kourani shaved his beard, avoided local mosques and blended in.
Mahmoud Kourani was put under surveillance after the owner of Cafe La Libanesa in Tijuana, Mexico, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, was arrested in 2002 by US agents on charges of smuggling people.
His brother, Haydar Kourani, was Hizbullah’s chief of military security for South Lebanon and his operator in US.
Mahmoud Kourani was used, on regular basis, to raise money and volunteers for Hizbullah and to hold meetings for that purpose in his Detroit apartment. He was arrested in 05/2003 and was convicted in a plea bargain on 06/14/2005. Mahmoud Kourani admitted spending part of his time in the United States raising money to support Hizbullah and sent at least $40,000 to the organization in Lebanon. He was sentenced to 4.5 years in jail and deportation from USA back to Lebanon.
Another Lebanese, Elias Mohamad Akhdar, a neighbor of Mahmoud Kourani in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, pleaded guilty on 07/30/2005 to a charge of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The government argued in court documents that Elias Mohamad Akhdar and his associate Hassan M. Makki, 42, of Dearborn, tried to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hizbullah.
Akhdar and Makki were among 11 suspects, nine Detroit-area men and two women living on an Indian reservation in New York, arrested after an indictment was published on 04/02/2005
Hassan M. Makki, who was sentenced in 12/2004 to four years and nine months in prison, acknowledged providing more than $2,000 to Hizbullah after it had been designated an international terrorist organization by the USA State Department.
Another associate of Mahmoud Kourani, Mohamad Ahmad Krayem was also sought for sending $200,000 to Hizbullah to buy night-vision goggles from UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon’s buffer zone. He also smuggled 20 to 30 Hizbullah operatives from Canada to the U.S. before fleeing to Lebanon.
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