Two suspects allegedly working for Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard, were charged with plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. They were also charged with plotting to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday during a press conference at the Justice Department.
The criminal complaint, unsealed in federal court in New York City, identified the two alleged terrorists as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.
Holder stated Arbabsiar was arrested on September 29 in New York. Arbabsiar allegedly was a member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard and he confessed to the assassination plot.
But Arbabsiar's partner Shakuri, who is based in Iran, remains at large, Holder reported.
A source in Washington, D.C. tells the Law Enforcement Examiner that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.
Both terror suspects are Iran nationals, but Arbabsiar is a naturalized U.S. citizen, the criminal complaint states.
The target of the assassination plot is Saudi Arabia's Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir, who has served as that Kingdom's top diplomat in the U.S. for more than four years.
Holder stated during his press conference that the indictment is the result of a sting operation conducted by the FBI, but a source told the Law Enforcement Examiner that the New York City Police Departments joint task force played a vital role in the investigation and arrest.
According to the Justice Department, the plot became known to U.S. authorities when one of the suspects, who lived in Texas, contacted an undercover DEA agent and asked for assistance from the deadly Los Zetas drug cartel in Mexico to assassinate the ambassador.
The Justice Department reported that Arbabsiar said he was working with high-ranking members of the Iranian government. Arbabsiar boasted that his cousin was an officer with the Iranian army.
Arbabsiar allegedly wired two $50,000 transfers to the undercover DEA agent as a retainer and partial payment of the $1.5 million for the assassination.
U.S. intelligence officials in the past have told the Law Enforcement Examiner that an alliance exists between Mexican and Colombian drug gangs as Islamic terror groups. Iranian military and intelligence members are said to be in Latin American countries such as Venezuela. In addition, terrorist groups -- such as the Iranian backed Hezbollah -- are being harbored in Central/South American nations.