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News Release [Select File > Print on the menu for printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2003

U.S. Arrests 9 Afghani Natives on Charges of
Importing Heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan

photo - detail of heroin stiched in dress
Heroin concealed in the
fabric of a woman's dress.

photo - heroin in dress

photo - agent showing full dress

ANTHONY PLACIDO, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration and JAMES B. COMEY, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the arrests of 9 individuals on charges of importing more than half a million dollars in heroin into the United States from Pakistan and Afghanistan, and distributing that heroin in the New York Area.

According to a criminal Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, the 9 defendants - and 3 others who have been charged but not yet arrested - participated in a conspiracy to import more than eight kilograms of heroin into the U.S. over an 18-month period, often concealing drugs inside heat-sealed plastic tubing sewn into the seams of traditional Afghani women's clothing. All of the defendants are natives of Afghanistan who are currently living in New York and Pakistan.

According to the Complaint, a confidential witness (CW-1) negotiated with several of the defendants, including MOHAMMAD DAUD RAHIMI, AHMADULLAH BABURY and ABDUL WAHAD, to have heroin sent from Pakistan to a post office box in Manhattan, which the DEA had set up as an undercover mailbox. To facilitate the shipment of heroin to the post office box, RAHIMI instructed CW-1 to change the name on the mailbox from "M. Khan" to an "American-sounding" name because RAHIMI believed that a Muslim name would draw law enforcement attention. Ultimately, CW-1 received several shipments totaling approximately 550 grams of heroin sent from Pakistan to the post office box hidden in the seams of Afghani women's dresses.

Also according to the Complaint, in April 2002, WAHAD met with CW-1 in Karachi, Pakistan, where WAHAD was living. During the meeting WAHAD told CW-1, among other things, that:

  1. Christmas was the best time to send heroin overseas because the high volume of mail overwhelmed law enforcement in the United States.
  2. WAHAD would be using a new technique to conceal heroin inside of clothing, which consisted of a high-quality plastic that could withstand heat sealing and was impossible for law enforcement to detect. The technique takes approximately 10 days to conceal one kilogram of heroin inside the clothing.
  3. WAHAD obtained opium from fields in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and Northern Afghanistan. Once obtained, WAHAD processed the opium into heroin by utilizing acid and high-quality chemicals that he obtained from Germany.

As alleged in the Complaint, in August 2002 MOHAMMADDIN AZIZI supplied a different cooperating witness (CW-2) with almost 7 kilograms of heroin inside a gym bag in the back of a minivan owned by AZIZI. Also according to the Complaint, AZIZI told CW-2 that he (AZIZI) received his heroin from a source in Pakistan who mailed heroin to AZIZI sewn inside women's middle eastern clothing.

The other defendants charged in the conspiracy are ALI AHMED, MOHAMMAD ISMAEL, ABDUL RASHID, TAJ MOHAMMAD, KHALIL PACHA, SHAH MAHMOOD, HAMAYON SALIMI and SHAH WALI.

RAHIMI, BABURY, ISMAEL, RASHID, MOHAMMAD, PACHA, AZIZI, SALIMI and WALI were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be presented on the charges in the Complaint before United States Magistrate Judge DOUGLAS F. EATON later today. The defendants are faxing a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment. In addition, each defendant faces a fine of up to $4 million.

ANTHONY P. PLACIDO, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE OF THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRAION'S NEW YORK OFFICE stated, "The successful culmination of this investigation demonstrates the vital importance of a coordinated approach in targeting transnational crime. In addition to the outstanding cooperation between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and a number of domestic law enforcement agencies, I would also like to acknowledge and thank Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force for their valuable assistance."

 

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