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2 Afghan men plead guilty to conspiring to smuggle heroin into US

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Operations Division recently announced that two Afghan nationals, arrested in 2015 in Bangkok, pled guilty of their crime of conspiring to import heroin into the United States with the intention of smuggling the drug into the U.S. for distribution.

The two men, identified as Lajbar Lajward Khan, aka “Haji Lajaward,” and Amal Said Alam Shah, aka “Haji Zar Mohammad,” were arrested in Bangkok by Thai authorities at the request of U.S. authorities. They were then brought to the U.S. to be tried for their charges.

The DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan and Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim said that the two men were plotting to distribute heroin and to import it into the U.S. On June 29, 2017, both of them pled guilty in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, to a Superseding Indictment.

“The United States has been besieged by traffickers bringing drugs into our country,” said DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Donovan. “Through close cooperation with our foreign counterparts, the United States brought these international drug traffickers to justice, taking another step in keeping illegal and harmful drugs out of the hands of Americans.”

If convicted, they would face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory imprisonment of minimum 10 years. The final verdict will be declared on Nov. 1, 2017.

The duo was conniving since 2014

The court documents said that the duo was active since May 2014. Between May 2014 and June 2015, Lajaward and Said worked hard to import huge quantities of heroin (approximately to the tune of 1,000 kg) from Afghanistan into the U.S. In August 2014, Lajaward came in touch with an undercover agent from the DEA and started liaising with him, disclosing his intent to import quality heroin from his native country Afghanistan into the U.S. which would fetch him a hefty price. At this juncture, a new character ‘Said’ entered the scene who was a heroin-trafficking associate.

The undercover agent unearthed a lot of information from them. On Oct. 30, 2014, during one of the interactions, Lajaward showed keen interest in pumping in a large quantity of heroin and delivering it to the undercover agent so that it could be easily smuggled into the U.S. Lajaward also offered a trial shipment of the heroin by sending it to the agent.

The deal that struck was nothing short of a movie script, as the DEA’s undercover agent hatched a plan that spanned across continents, where heroin would originate in Kabul, involving another undercover agent from Afghan law enforcement at the behest of DEA, and meeting another associate of the duo in Dubai. At that meeting, the undercover agent paid $10,500 to the associate for the heroin sample. All this happened on Jan. 15, 2015.

The undercover agent met Said on Jan. 28, 2015, in Dubai to discuss details of the heroin sample and how it could be transported to the U.S. He said that it would take a fortnight for the sample to reach the U.S. They met again on April 2, 2015, in Dubai to negotiate further on the deal and for discussing further details.

In June 2015, the Afghan duo traveled to Bangkok to meet the undercover agent, and the curtain fell on June 13, as Thai police, at the request of the U.S. authorities arrested them in Bangkok. The Afghan natives were then deported to the U.S.

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