Extradites Taliban-Linked Narco-Terrorist
KAREN P. TANDY, the Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH GUCCIONE, the United States Marshal for the Southern District of New York, joined by Major General SAYED KAMAL SADAAT, Director General of the Afghanistan Counter Narcotics Police, today announced the extradition from Afghanistan to New York of BAZ MOHAMMAD, a Taliban-linked narco-terrorist charged with conspiring to import more than $25 million worth of heroin from Afghanistan into the United States and other countries. On June 1, 2005, President George W. Bush designated BAZ MOHAMMAD as a foreign narcotics kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The extradition announced today represents the first extradition in history from Afghanistan to the United States.
Ms. TANDY stated: “We’ve made history today. We’ve put an end to the safe haven of an Afghan drug lord who orchestrated an international heroin conspiracy that poisoned Americans. The first ever extradition of a drug trafficker from Afghanistan proves that justice and the will of people to be free from the tyranny of the drug trade will prevail.”
According to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court today, BAZ MOHAMMAD, since 1990, led an international heroin-trafficking organization (the “Baz Mohammad Organization”) responsible for manufacturing and distributing more than $25 million worth of heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Baz Mohammad Organization then allegedly arranged for the heroin to be imported into the United States and other countries and sold for tens of millions of dollars. According to the indictment, law enforcement officers have seized more than $1.4 million worth of the Baz Mohammad Organization’s heroin in the United States since 1991.
The indictment charges that BAZ MOHAMMAD controlled opium fields in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan, where poppies were grown and harvested to produce opium. According to the indictment, after the opium was harvested, BAZ MOHAMMAD used laboratories in Afghanistan and Pakistan to process it into heroin. BAZ MOHAMMAD and his co-conspirators then arranged to transport the heroin from Afghanistan into the United States, including to New York City, hidden inside suitcases, clothing, and containers. Once the heroin arrived in the United States, other members of the Baz Mohammad Organization received the heroin and distributed the drugs. These co-conspirators then arranged for millions of dollars in heroin proceeds to be laundered back to MOHAMMAD and other members of the Baz Mohammad Organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the indictment, the Baz Mohammad Organization was closely aligned with the Taliban and other Islamic-extremist groups in Afghanistan. During the course of the conspiracy, the Baz Mohammad Organization provided financial support to the Taliban. More specifically, between 1994 and 2000, the Baz Mohammad Organization collected heroin proceeds in the United States for the Taliban in Afghanistan. In exchange for its financial support, the Taliban provided the Baz Mohammad Organization protection for its opium crops, heroin laboratories, drug-transportation routes, and members and associates.
According to the Indictment, in or about 1990, BAZ MOHAMMAD met with members of the Baz Mohammad Organization in his Karachi, Pakistan, residence and told them that selling heroin in the United States was a “Jihad” because they were taking the Americans’ money at the same time the heroin they were paying for was killing them. More recently, in June 2004, BAZ MOHAMMAD and other members of his organization possessed approximately 120 kilograms of chemical powder, a drug ledger, and written records reflecting sales of missile explosive devices, rocket shells, rocket accessories, AK-47s, pistols, bullets, and other weaponry at a petrol station in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.
The Indictment unsealed today also charged BASHIR RAHMANY as a member of the Baz Mohammad Organization. According to the Indictment, BASHIR RAHMANY, among other things, was responsible for the distribution of the Baz Mohammad Organization’s heroin to customers in New York. Law enforcement officers arrested BASHIR RAHMANY in July 2005 in New York, and he remains in custody awaiting trial in this case.
As noted above, on June 1, 2005, President George W. Bush designated BAZ MOHAMMAD as a foreign narcotics kingpin pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the “Kingpin Act”), which targets, on a worldwide basis, significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their organizations, and their operatives. The Kingpin Act authorizes the President of the United States to take these actions when he determines that a foreign narcotics trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. BAZ MOHAMMAD and BASHIR NOORZAI, who was arrested by the DEA in New York in April 2005 and is being prosecuted by this Office for heroin-importation charges, are the only Afghan narcotics traffickers to ever have been sanctioned by the President of the United States under the Kingpin Act.
The historic extradition announced today was the result of the cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the DEA, the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the “FBI”), the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and the New York City Police Department (the “NYPD”), working together under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), as well as the Afghanistan Counter Narcotics Police and the Interior Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, the FBI, ICE, the NYPD, and the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police.
Mr. GARCIA stated: “The first extradition ever between the United States and Afghanistan has yielded a designated drug king-pin responsible for conspiring to import $25 million of narcotics into the US, and for using his illicit profits to support the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalist groups.
Thanks to the extraordinary work of the agencies represented here today, Afghanistan will no longer be a safe haven for narco-traffickers like Baz Mohammed.”
If convicted, BAZ MOHAMMAD, and BASHIR RAHMANY face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Assistant United States Attorneys BOYD M. JOHNSON III and AMY FINZI are in charge of the prosecutions.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.