Terrorist groups have frequently relied on criminal acts to fund their operations. The short-lived era of state-sponsored terrorism has apparently ended with the latest wave of globalization. Terrorist organisations are forcibly less dependent on state or Wahhabite funds, depending on the cause and benefactor. Pecuniary resources are, of course, necessary to further any operation and as Bruce Hoffman notes, "terrorist campaign[s] [are] like a shark in water: it must keep moving forward…or die."
Hezbollah has recently been implicated in a counterfeit clothing ring:
When Los Angeles County Sheriff Lt. John Stedman was booking a clothing store owner last year on charges of selling counterfeit high-fashion merchandise, his attention was drawn to the large and colorful tattoo on the man’s arm.
The tattoo included Arabic writing, suggesting it wasn’t a gang symbol or the mark of one of the many organized crime syndicates that have helped make dealing in knockoff goods — like Gucci handbags, Prada shoes and Louis Vuitton watches — a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States.
Source: SITE Institute and the Los Angeles Times (free subscription required)
The Los Angeles Times article notes Hezbollah was also implicated in a cigarette smuggling ring a few years back in North Carolina.
On this note, keep this other item on al-Qaeda’s now-public delving into the precious metals market in mind:
Ten Arab men suspected by Swiss authorities of supporting the al-Qaeda
terror network allegedly engaged in illegal gold trading besides
smuggling illegal aliens, said Swiss authorities on Thursday.
Source: SITE Institute
Also see my posting on electronic extortion that could be easily used by these organisations.