A U.S. federal court has reportedly convicted two Afghan nationals this year in connection to a multi-million-dollar scheme to smuggle “tons” of Taliban-linked heroin from Afghanistan into the United States.
Specifically, the U.S. judicial system convicted the two prospective deportees of conspiracy to traffic from Afghanistan, the world’s top producer of the illicit drug, reports the Mercury News, citing the DEA.
The investigation prompted the seizure of “around 13 pounds of pure heroin,” an amount that authorities believe “would have been diluted to about 150 pounds before it was sold on the streets at a value federal agents estimate fell between $3.5 and $8.33 million.”
The Mercury News reports:
One of the defendants, Shamsuddin Dost, reportedly bragged to an undercover federal agent during a meeting in San Jose that he had friends in the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government and said he was willing to kill people who interfered with his business.
The newspaper learned from a DEA transcript that Dost boasted:
[Afghan] national security people had detained their guys as part of the Taliban…. I secured their release. Don’t worry, those are people that are tied to me. … They are Taliban and I know their relatives, uncles and I know their business. If they deviate, I know how to deal with them.
Dost also told the undercover DEA officer, identified by the pseudonym Mustafa, that his connections could “provide as much as you like,” adding that he could import “tons” of Afghan heroin.
The DEA transcript revealed that they Dost ultimately agreed to import 220 pounds of the deadly drug, notes the Mercury News.
According to the newspaper, a U.S. federal court sentenced Dost’s co-defendant, Jawd Ahmadi, to 70 months in federal prison on March 28 after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Authorities arrested Ahmadi in November 2016, on the same day he flew from Kabul to San Francisco to meet the purported drug dealer who was really an undercover agent, Mustafa, as part of a deal to smuggle 100 to 200 pounds of “Grade A” heroin from Afghanistan.
Ahmadi is facing deportation after completing his sentence.
Dost is also facing deportation along with a minimum of ten years in federal prison.
After taking his case before a jury, a federal court convicted Dost on January 28 of three felonies linked to heroin trafficking, including conspiracy.
The Mercury News notes:
In 2016, a confidential drug informant told DEA agents working in Kabul that Dost had an uncle who owned Afghan heroin manufacturing facilities and that they smuggled the drug into the United States inside shipments of rugs.
The confidential informant also told authorities that Dost had a connection with a man who’d spent the past 26 years importing heroin from the Nimroz Province, a section of southwestern Afghanistan that shares a border with Iran and Pakistan, and is known as a hub for drugs and weapons smuggling.
Dost and Ahmadi led DEA agents to Dubai, Afghanistan, neighboring Pakistan, and other parts of the Middle East.
Taliban terrorists generate more than 60 percent of their funding from opium, the main ingredient in heroin, U.S. officials maintain.
Although Afghanistan is the world’s top supplier of opium and heroin, the DEA insists that very little of the drugs make it onto U.S. soil.
Meanwhile, the agency has acknowledged that Afghan heroin is the “predominant type” in neighboring Canada.
However, the DEA reports that most of the heroin in the United States, which is currently gripped by an unprecedented fatal overdose crisis, comes from Latin America.
Speaking to Breitbart News as a private citizen, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), has urged federal authorities to investigate the potential link between America’s drug overdose problem and Afghan heroin.
DEA officials recently noted:
The United States faces the deadliest drug crisis in our history. Approximately 64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2016 – the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history. This epidemic is being driven primarily by opioids – prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic drugs like fentanyl. For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death.
Despite more than $8.5 billion in American taxpayer funds devoted to combating illegal narcotics, the country produces nearly 50 times more opium now than in when the war started in 2001.