By Dialogo May 26, 2010 For the first time, the U.S. government has characterized as narcoterrorism the crime of which three al-Qaeda members detained in Mali and with contacts in Brazil are accused. The detentions, the result of a operation designed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), revealed ties between the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden and Brazilian smugglers. The daily Folha de São Paulo has published a report highlighting the fact that following these discoveries, the Brazilian Federal Police are moving forward on investigations seeking to identify Brazilian connections to narcoterrorism, defined as trafficking in narcotics in order to finance terrorism. According to the São Paulo morning newspaper, al-Qaeda militants have declared that they received help from Brazilian smugglers to transport between half a ton and a ton of cocaine from Colombia to Mali, in West Africa, with the ultimate aim of selling it in Europe. The supposed Brazilian connection was revealed by Omar Issa, Harouna Touré, and Idris Abdelrahman, al-Qaeda militants active in Ghana, Mali, Algeria, and other regions of West Africa, who after being detained were deported to New York, where they will be tried. According to the detainees’ declarations, supported by the stamps in Touré’s passport, which demonstrate his presence in Brazil, France, and Saudi Arabia, he was the Brazilian smugglers’ contact. According to what the DEA was able to discover through an undercover agent who held telephone conversations and made video recordings of meetings, Touré went to Colombia in search of the drugs and transported them to Mali with the help of Brazilian smugglers, the Folha de São Paulo report reveals. From there, the drug shipment is said to have been transported across the desert to Morocco in order to introduce it into Europe by way of Spain. The DEA succeeded in unraveling the operation by infiltrating an agent who passed himself off as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who was willing to obtain half a ton of cocaine for al-Qaeda, leading to a million-dollar profit for the terrorist group, according to Folha. The three captured al-Qaeda militants, now detained in New York, belong to the Aqim faction, meaning al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group authorized by Osama bin Laden to use the terrorist network’s name since 2006.