United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Alleged International Drug Trafficker Extradited From The Czech Republic To The United States
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Monday, June 25, 2012
Docket #: 2:11-cr-426-LKK
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shiraz Malik, 34, an alleged international drug trafficker, has been extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States to face criminal charges filed in the Eastern District of California. Malik, a Pakistani national who resided in Poland, is alleged to have controlled a wide-ranging drug trafficking organization that used the Internet and front companies in Europe to sell various drugs and controlled substances to customers worldwide.
He was arrested at the Prague International Airport on September 8, 2011, following a lengthy investigation that included undercover meetings in three European countries.
The extradition was announced today by United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin B. Wagner; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams; Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Marcus Williams; ICE Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Clark Settles; and El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini.
Malik was extradited to the United States on June 22, 2012. He made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows today for arraignment and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered detained pending trial.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “The indictment alleges that Shiraz Malik controlled a worldwide organization that trafficked in a variety of dangerous drugs. But if Mr. Malik believed that his movement among multiple countries would protect him from law enforcement, he was mistaken. Just as his operation was international, so was the effort to apprehend him. We are grateful for the cooperation of Interpol and law enforcement authorities in several countries who assisted in the investigation, and we are pleased that Malik will be facing justice in Sacramento.”
“This transnational drug trafficking organization had tentacles that extended across multiple continents, where they operated without regard for life or law. We will continue to fully investigate the extent of this organization and its operations. The success of this case would not be possible without the outstanding assistance and support received from our foreign and domestic counterparts,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Williams.
“Upon conviction of the drug related offenses, Malik is subject to forfeit all property, real and personal, involved in the violations,” said IRS-CI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Goss. “One of the government’s most powerful weapons in fighting crime is the ability to seize a criminal’s assets through asset forfeiture. By taking away their assets and profits, we deprive criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activity.”
“The sale of controlled substances over the Internet by unlicensed vendors like this defendant poses a serious health threat to those who shop for prescription drugs online,” said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Sacramento. “This extradition shows how law enforcement agencies worldwide are working together to protect consumers by dismantling these illegal and highly dangerous criminal enterprises.”
According to the 40-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of California on September 28, 2011, from June 1, 2008 through September 8, 2011, Malik sold pharmaceuticals, drugs, and highly regulated chemicals to customers in the United States, Europe, Mexico and other countries and conspired to launder the profits of that activity. According to court documents, Malik was in charge of an operation that involved persons in multiple countries who collected and shipped his products and assisted in money laundering.
In May 2008, DEA agents learned of two business-to-business Internet websites on which businesses were offering to sell and illegally import into the United States pharmaceutical drugs such as oxycontin, which are Controlled Substances under U.S. law, and regulated chemicals such as ephedrine HCL, which is a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine. Two businesses that were offering controlled substances through the websites were Shama Medical Store in Karachi, Pakistan and Good Luck Trading Company in the United Kingdom. Both businesses referred customers to email addresses associated with Shiraz Malik.
According to court documents, undercover agents, primarily using email communications, made numerous purchases of pharmaceutical drugs, ephedrine, ketamine (a commonly abused anesthetic), and heroin from both Shama Medical and Good Luck Trading. Malik had the drugs shipped to the agents in Sacramento. Malik also sent them numerous samples of various pharmaceutical drugs, heroin, and methamphetamine in order to obtain their business. Malik maintained at least two bank accounts in Poland that he used to receive payments for Internet drug purchases from undercover agents.
According to documents filed in the case, undercover agents met with Malik on three separate occasions in Milan, Italy (June 2009), Vienna, Austria (November 2009), and in Budapest, Hungary (August 2010). During those meetings, with the cooperation of law enforcement officials in the host countries, the agents posed as U.S.-based illegal drug dealers and had discussions with Malik about future purchases and possible collaborative efforts. In the meetings, Malik explained that his operation sold a variety of pharmaceutical and controlled substances including: steroids, OxyContin, ketamine, diazepam, lidocaine, illegal drugs including heroin from Pakistan, Ecstasy from Holland, methamphetamine (believed to be made in the Czech Republic), and ephedrine from India or China.
According to court documents, Malik took the orders from customers via the Internet and coordinated with his people in Pakistan to fill the orders. The drugs were sent from Pakistan to the customers, and Malik emailed to the customers the tracking numbers that his co-conspirators in Pakistan gave him. Malik sold large quantities of ephedrine to one or more customers in Mexico, the country of origin for most of the methamphetamine sold in the United States.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided invaluable assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Richard J. Bender and Daniel S. McConkie are prosecuting the case.
If convicted of the charges, Malik faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges in the indictments are merely allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.