The US has extradited two Pakistani nationals from Bangkok to face charges for attempting to import large quantities of heroin into America, said an announcement by Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anne Milgram, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”).
Maulabaksh Gorgeech, 43, and Niamatullah Gorgeech, 37, who could be jailed for life, were taken into custody by the Thailand authorities in Bangkok on April 11 and were flown to the US on July 30. Later, they were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in New York.
According to the Department of Drug Enforcement Administration, Maulabaksh and Niamatullah, the Asia-based drug traffickers, began communicating and meeting with individuals whom they believed were heroin traffickers interested in purchasing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for importation into the United States in late 2019.
The individuals were, in fact, confidential sources working at the DEA’s direction, and an undercover DEA agent posing as a New York-based heroin distributor.
According to the charges, in March 2019, Niamatullah caused a sample of approximately seven kilograms of heroin to be delivered in Afghanistan, with the understanding that those drugs would be transported to and sold in the United States. In July 2019, Maulabaksh offered to provide as many as 100 kilograms of heroin for importation to the United States.
In September 2019, Maulabaksh caused another sample of approximately seven kilograms of heroin to be delivered in Afghanistan, for importation and sale in the United States. Following these sample shipments, the two accused planned to supply larger quantities of heroin for importation to and distribution within the United States.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech trafficked in wholesale importation of heroin to the United States. Thanks to the DEA’s global reach and the assistance of law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the defendants are in U.S. custody and facing serious federal charges.”
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said: “At a time when the United States is facing an opioid overdose epidemic of unprecedented proportions, it is critical that DEA stop the flow of heroin into the country before it makes its way to our communities. Directly because of DEA’s efforts, Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech are now on American soil, facing significant criminal charges for their alleged crimes.”
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, and the OCDETF New York Strike Force; the DEA’s Bangkok, Islamabad, Kabul, and Bucharest Country Offices, and Guam Resident Office; the United States Central Command; U.S. Embassy in Bangkok’s Consul General’s Office and Diplomatic Security Service; the Royal Thai Government’s Office of the Attorney General – International Affairs Department, Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau – Sensitive Investigative Unit, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. Ms. Strauss also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for its ongoing assistance.