Two Afghan heroin traffickers were sentenced last week in Manhattan federal court for conspiring to import large quantities of heroin into the United States. 53-year-old Lajbar Lajaward Khan and 47-year-old Amal Said Said Alam Shah were sentenced to 15 years and almost 11 years in prison, respectively.
The two Afghan nationals were part of a drug trafficking organization based in Afghanistan that produced and distributed large quantities of heroin. Between May 2014 and June 2015, Lajaward and Said worked together to import large quantities of heroin – in the range of 1,000 kilograms – from Afghanistan into the United States.
In August 2014, Lajaward began communicating by telephone with an individual he understood to be a New York-based narcotics trafficker, who was in fact an undercover agent of the DEA. Lajaward, in sum and substance, told the agent that he was interested in supplying large quantities of high-quality heroin for importation into the United States, where it would be sold for millions of dollars. During the calls between Lajaward and the undercover, Lajaward introduced the agent to one of his heroin-trafficking associates, Said.
On October 30, 2014, Lajaward and the DEA agent met in person in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. During that recorded meeting, Lajaward continued to express his interest in supplying large quantities of heroin to the undercover for importation into the United States, and Lajaward offered to supply a sample of heroin as a test shipment to be sold in the United States.
In the months following that meeting in Dubai, during recorded telephone calls with the agent, Lajaward and Said arranged to supply a three-kilogram sample of heroin in Kabul, Afghanistan. During those recorded calls, Lajaward, Said, and the undercover agreed that the delivery of the three-kilogram heroin sample would occur in Kabul on or about January 15, 2015.
On that day, an undercover Afghan law enforcement officer, acting at the direction of the DEA and posing as an associate of the DEA agent, met with Lajaward and one of his associates in Kabul and received delivery of the three-kilogram heroin sample. In parallel, over 1,000 miles away in Dubai, the undercover DEA agent met with another associate of Lajaward to pay for the heroin sample, as had been arranged during recorded calls between the two men. At that meeting, which was recorded, the agent paid $10,500 to the associate, at the direction of Lajaward, for the heroin sample.
About two weeks later, on January 28, 2015, Said met with the undercover agent in Dubai. During that recorded meeting, Said discussed the heroin sample that the organization had recently supplied for importation into the United States, stated that the group was prepared to supply 1,000 kilograms of heroin to the agent, and indicated that it would take the organization only about 15 days to produce 100 kilograms of heroin for shipment to the United States.
On April 2, 2015, Said and the undercover met again in Dubai. During that recorded meeting, they negotiated additional details of the agreement for the organization to supply massive quantities of heroin for importation into the United States, including that Lajaward and Said would share in the profits generated from the sale of the heroin in the United States. Said also agreed that he and Lajaward would meet the undercover agent in Thailand, for purposes of finalizing the heroin deal, and for Lajaward and Said to receive their share of the profits generated from the purported sale in the United States of the three-kilogram heroin sample previously supplied by the organization.
In June 2015, Lajaward and Said traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to meet with the undercover, walking right into the DEA’s trap. On June 13, 2015, both drug traffickers were arrested in Bangkok by Thai authorities based on the charges in this case, at the request of U.S. authorities.
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