Afghan Drug Kingpin Baz Mohammad Extradited to New York
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Baz Mohammad, 51, an Afghan heroin kingpin who is the first defendant ever extradited to the US from Afghanistan, was sentenced this week to 16 years imprisonment for managing an international narcotics-trafficking organization that imported millions of dollars of heroin into the US, according to the US Attorney's Office in New York City.
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 US Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, authorized the extradition of Baz Mohammad to the US 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 plea:
Between 1990 and 2005, Mohammad led an international heroin-trafficking 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 US, including to New York City, hidden inside suitcases, clothing, and containers. Once the heroin arrived in the US, 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 US 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 coconspirators that selling heroin in the US 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 US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, the DEA, the US 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 US 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 was handled by the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant US Attorneys Boyd M. Johnson III, Amy Finzi, and Jocelyn Strauber were in charge of the prosecution.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.