"They are recognized by many experts as the 'A' team of Muslim terrorist organizations."
That's how a former U.S. intelligence agent described the group Hezbollah to 10News in San Diego. "They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings."
The local news organization interviewed the agent for a story on how Hezbollah has been creeping closer to the the U.S. border, and has now apparently been spotted in the Mexican border town of Tijuana.
"We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico," the agent told 10News.
Why should that concern American? According to him, Hezbollah is far more advanced than the much-feared al Qaeda.
"Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans," he said. "I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term."
10News explains more:
Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.
Now, the group is blending into Shi'a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.
The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.
He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.
"From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training," the agent said.
For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango
Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said points to Hezbollah's involvement.
"They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories," the agent said, later adding, "They're focusing on developing, on infiltrating communities within North America."
You would benefit from reading the full 10News report here.