Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 29, 2009
Alleged Afghan Narcotics Trafficker Ordered Detained Pending Trial on U.S. Drug Charges

Haji Bagcho, aka Haji Bagh Chagul, an Afghan national, was ordered detained today by Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia while he awaits trial on U.S. narcotics charges.

Bagcho was charged in a two-count indictment unsealed June 24, 2009, with one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin knowing and intending that it would be imported into the United States and one count of distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin knowing and intending that it be imported into the United States. Conviction on either of these charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation that would require Bagcho, if convicted, to forfeit the proceeds of his criminal activity.

"People who commit crimes against the United States from outside our borders are not immune from justice, as this indictment proves," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.

"The indictment of Haji Bagcho demonstrates our commitment to bring dangerous drug traffickers to justice," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "This alleged drug lord sought to import heroin into our country. We will stop these narco-traffickers and stem their flow of illicit drugs."

In September 2006, the DEA and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) began investigating Bagcho’s alleged heroin trafficking activities in the area along the Afghan/Pakistan border. Bagcho arrived in the United States from Afghanistan on June 23, 2009.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys from NDDS. The investigation in this case was led by the Special Operations Division and DEA’s Kabul Country Office. Significant assistance in this matter was provided by attorneys in the Criminal Division’s Senior Federal Prosecutors Program in Kabul and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs. The Government of Afghanistan, through the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the Afghan Counter Narcotics Justice Task Force played significant roles in the this matter.

An indictment is a formal charging document notifying the defendant of his charges. All persons charged by an indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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