Herion Kingpin – First Defendant Ever Extradited from Afghanistan Sentenced to 15 Years

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and KAREN P. TANDY, the
Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement
Administration (“DEA”), announced that BAZ MOHAMMAD, 51, an
Afghan heroin kingpin, and the first defendant ever extradited to
the United States from Afghanistan, was sentenced this afternoon
to 188 months’ imprisonment for managing an international
narcotics-trafficking organization that imported millions of
dollars of heroin into the United States. President GEORGE W.
BUSH previously designated BAZ MOHAMMAD as a foreign narcotics
kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act,
which authorizes the President of the United States to make such
designations when he determines that a foreign narcotics
trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign
policy, or economy of the United States. HAMID KARZAI, President
of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, authorized the
extradition of BAZ MOHAMMAD to the United States in October 2005.
On July 11, 2006, BAZ MOHAMMAD pleaded guilty in Manhattan
federal court. According to the Indictment, other documents
filed in the case, and statements made during MOHAMMAD’s guilty
Between 1990 and 2005, MOHAMMAD led an international
heroin-trafficking organization (the “Organization”) responsible
for manufacturing and distributing millions of dollars worth of
heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Organization then
arranged for the heroin to be transported from Afghanistan and
Pakistan 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
Organization received and distributed the heroin. These coconspirators
then arranged for millions of dollars in heroin
proceeds to be laundered back to MOHAMMAD and other members of
the Organization, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Organization, closely aligned with the Taliban in
Afghanistan, provided financial support to the Taliban during the
course of the conspiracy. More specifically, between 1994 and
2000, the Organization collected heroin proceeds in the United
States for the Taliban. In exchange for its financial support,
the Taliban provided the Organization protection for its opium
crops, heroin laboratories, drug-transportation routes, and
members and associates.
In 1990, MOHAMMAD discussed heroin trafficking with
other members of the Organization in his Karachi, Pakistan,
residence. During the meeting, MOHAMMAD told his co-conspirators
that selling heroin in the United States was a “jihad” because
they were taking the Americans’ money and the heroin was killing
them. This case was the result of the cooperative efforts of
the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of
New York, the Criminal Division of the United States Department
of Justice, the DEA, the United States Marshals Service, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the Department of
Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”),
and the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), working
together under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug
Enforcement Task Force, 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. “Baz Mohammad is a narcotics kingpin whose drug
organization, operating under the protection of the Taliban in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, made millions of dollars from the sale
of heroin in the United States,” said United States Attorney
MICHAEL J. GARCIA. “Today’s sentencing is a gratifying
conclusion to an important prosecution that would not have been
possible without unprecedented cooperation between law
enforcement authorities in the United States and Afghanistan.”
“The sentencing of Haji Baz Mohammad — the first
person ever extradited from Afghanistan to the United States —
demonstrates both our nations’ resolve to destroy the hold opium
lords have on Afghanistan,” said DEA Administrator KAREN P.
TANDY. “This drug kingpin bragged that he waged jihad against
Americans by poisoning them with his heroin. His attack was
unconventional, and his massive drug profits funded the Taliban
and other extremist organizations dedicated to destroying freedom
and justice. Today, as Mohammad loses his own freedom, he begins
a long, hands-on lesson in the certainty of American justice.”
The prosecution of BAZ MOHAMMAD is being handled by the
Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant
United States Attorneys BOYD M. JOHNSON III, AMY FINZI, and
JOCELYN STRAUBER are in charge of the prosecution.
07-239 ###

October 5, 2007 YUSIL SCRIBNER,
(212) 637-2600

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