Federal Drug Agents Foundation Honors
OCT 31--DEA Administrator Karen Tandy flew to New York in order to be the Federal Drug Agents Foundation (FDAF) honorary guest at the FDAF 2006 Award Ceremony. The FDAF was formed in 1994 by a group of leaders from the worlds of business and the professions. The Foundation's mission is to provide a support mechanism for the professionals of the Drug Enforcement Administration, their families and whenever possible, their law enforcement counterparts.
On October 24, 2006 the New York Organized Crime Strike Force Group Z-41 members were presented with honors for their work on Operation Somali Express. In December 2005, NY Strike Force Group Z-41, initiated an investigation targeting a Somali international khat trafficking organization. This investigation would yield the largest international investigation focused on khat, a leafy shrub that contains controlled substances, cathinone and cathine. Group Z-41 initiated this ground breaking investigation that resulted in over 59 arrests nationwide, the seizure of over 5 tons of khat worth over $2 million and the nationwide awareness of this overlooked and often violent illegal narcotic.
The eighteen month investigation not only identified operatives, transporters and distributors involved in the importation of khat into the US, but unearthed the leaders of this Khat trafficking organization Bashi MUSE, Abdi Emil MOGE and Ali AWAD. MUSE was responsible for the Organization’s importation of khat into New York using human couriers. It is estimated that MUSE was responsible for transporting more than 50 tons of khat worth more than $20 million into the United States. MOGE was a principal distributor of the Organization’s khat in Minnesota and other Midwest cities . AWAD was responsible for the Organization’s importation of khat into New York using express mail packages and even using a United Nations employee named Osman OSMAN to use diplomatic pouches to import the schedule I narcotic into the New York area.
Group Z-41 brought to light the fact that this khat trafficking organization used New York as a hub to import khat that would then be disbursed to cities throughout the United States. Throughout the investigation, Group Z-41 found that khat was being transported into New York via international mail courier services from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Austria, as well as by predominantly British couriers on passenger planes from the UK.
The investigative abilities of the members of Group Z-41 led to the success of this investigation which put over 59 individuals in jail. In addition, this investigation increased the awareness of khat. Because of the diligent work of these Special Agents the dangers of khat are now well known as well as the legal implications of trafficking the illegal narcotic.