Afghan drug lord jailed for life in US
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghan national Haji Bagcho, a notorious drug trafficker linked to the Taliban, was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to distribute heroin in the United States and used drug proceeds to fund, arm and supply the insurgents.
In addition to his prison term, US District Judge Ellen Huvelle in the District of Columbia on Tuesday ordered Bagcho to forfeit $254 million in drug proceeds, along with his property in Afghanistan.
“Haji Bagcho led a massive drug production and trafficking operation that supplied heroin in more than 20 countries, including the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer in a statement.
“In 2006 alone, he conducted heroin transactions worth more than $250 million. Bagcho used profits of his narcotics trafficking operation to support high-level Taliban commanders in Afghanistan. Today’s life sentence is an appropriate punishment for one of the most notorious heroin traffickers in the world,” he said.
“One of the world’s most prolific drug traffickers who helped fund the Taliban will spend his remaining days behind bars in a US prison due to the relentless efforts of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), our Afghan counterparts and our prosecuting partners,” said DEA administrator Leonhart.
Bagcho was convicted by a jury on March 13, after a three week trial for trying to unlawfully import and distribute heroin into the US and also charges of narco-terrorism. His trial was the second case heard under the narco-terrorism statute since its enactment in 2006.
Bagcho was charged in a superseding indictment on January 28, after his arrest and extradition to the US from Afghanistan in May 2009.
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