Efforts by the United States to track down Africa-based drug barons yielded some fruits on Wednesday with the arrival of four Kenyans in New York.
A statement by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said the anti-narcotics agency and the Southern District of New York welcomed the arrival of four individuals from Kenya to New York charged with participating in a massive global drug trafficking enterprise, and includes the leader of a well-known organized crime family in Africa.
“BAKTASH AKASHA ABDALLA, a/k/a “Baktash Akasha,” IBRAHIM AKASHA ABDALLA, a/k/a “Ibrahim Akasha,” GULAM HUSSEIN, a/k/a “Hussein Shabakhash,” a/k/a “Hadji Hussein,” a/k/a “Old Man,” and VIJAYGIRI ANANDGIRI GOSWAMI, a/k/a “Vijay Goswami,” a/k/a “Vicky Goswami,” were arrested in Mombasa, Kenya, on November 9, 2014, pursuant to a United States request, based on charges filed in the Southern District of New York arising out of their participation in a conspiracy to import kilogram quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into the United States. On November 10, 2014, a superseding Indictment was returned also charging the defendants with narcotics importation offenses based on their delivery of 99 kilograms of heroin and two kilograms of methamphetamine in Kenya, which they intended would be imported into the United States.
“DEA pursues the most dangerous global drug traffickers who pose a direct threat to safety and stability around the world,” said DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan. “We are relentlessly pursuing these criminal groups and their facilitators at every level with our law enforcement partners and we value and appreciate the work of our Kenyan counterparts. It is critical that we attack these dangerous networks before they can do even more damage worldwide and threaten innocent lives.”
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the four defendants who arrived yesterday in New York ran a Kenyan drug trafficking organization with global ambitions. For their alleged distribution of literally tons of narcotics – heroin and methamphetamine – around the globe, including to America, they will now face justice in a New York federal court.”
According to the allegations in the superseding Indictment:
From in or about March 2014 through the date of their arrests, BAKTASH AKASHA, IBRAHIM AKASHA, HUSSEIN, and GOSWAMI conspired to import kilogram-quantities of heroin into the United States. During the same period, BAKTASH AKASHA, IBRAHIM AKASHA, and GOSWAMI conspired to import kilogram quantities of methamphetamine into the United States.
BAKTASH AKASHA is the leader of an organized crime family in Kenya (the “Akasha Organization”) responsible for the production and distribution of ton quantities of narcotics within Kenya and throughout Africa. Moreover, the Akasha Organization’s distribution network extends beyond the African continent to include the distribution of narcotics for importation into the United States. IBRAHIM AKASHA is the brother and deputy of BAKTASH AKASHA. GOSWAMI manages the Akasha Organization’s drug business, including the production and distribution of methamphetamine and the procurement and distribution of heroin. HUSSEIN – a resident of Pakistan and a long-time associate of GOSWAMI – heads a transportation network that distributes massive quantities of narcotics throughout the Middle East and Africa, and has acknowledged responsibility for transporting tons of kilograms of heroin by sea.
Over the course of several months, during telephone calls and meetings in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya, the defendants agreed to supply, and in fact did supply, multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and methamphetamine to individuals they believed to be representatives of a South American drug-trafficking organization, but who were in fact confidential sources (the “CSes”) working at the direction and under the supervision of the DEA. BAKTASH AKASHA, IBRAHIM AKASHA, and GOSWAMI negotiated on behalf of the Akasha Organization to procure and distribute hundreds of kilograms of heroin from suppliers in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and to produce and distribute hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine, which they understood would ultimately be imported into the United States. At the same time, HUSSEIN agreed to transport heroin from the Akasha Organization’s supplier in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region to East Africa, so that it could be delivered to the CSes.
During a meeting in Mombasa, Kenya, in April 2014, BAKTASH AKASHA introduced a CS via Skype to one of his heroin suppliers in Pakistan, who said he could provide 420 kilograms of 100 percent pure heroin – which he called “diamond” quality – for distribution in the United States. Thereafter, in June 2014, GOSWAMI began discussing with the CSes his ability to procure methamphetamine precursor chemicals and to establish labs to produce methamphetamine for importation to the United States. In a meeting in Mombasa in September 2014, BAKTASH AKASHA introduced HUSSEIN as a narcotics transporter from Afghanistan who moves ton quantities of narcotics using ships. BAKTASH AKASHA and GOSWAMI described the supplier of heroin for their deal with the CSes, to whom they referred as “the Sultan,” as the top supplier of white heroin in the world.
In September and October 2014, IBRAHIM AKASHA personally delivered one-kilogram samples of methamphetamine and heroin to the CSes in Nairobi on behalf of the Akasha Organization. Thereafter, during a telephone call in October 2014 between BAKTASH AKASHA, GOSWAMI, and one of the CSes, GOSWAMI reported that 98 “chickens” had arrived, referring to 98 kilograms of heroin. GOSWAMI said that the South American drug organization would only need to pay for half of the 98 kilograms of heroin because the Akasha Organization would cover the cost of remaining kilograms. Then, in early November, IBRAHIM AKASHA personally delivered 98 kilograms of heroin to the CSes in Nairobi on behalf of the Akasha Organization. A few days later, IBRAHIM AKASHA also delivered another kilogram of methamphetamine.
In the course these negotiations, the Akasha Organization provided a total of 99 kilograms of heroin and two kilograms of methamphetamine to the confidential sources, and agreed to provide hundreds of kilograms more of each. The defendants were arrested on November 9, 2014, in Mombasa, Kenya, prior to another planned meeting with the CSes.
BAKTASH AKASHA, 40, is a Kenyan national and a resident of Kenya. IBRAHIM AKASHA, 28, is also a Kenyan national and a resident of Kenya. HUSSEIN, 61, is a Pakistani national and a resident of Pakistan. GOSWAMI, 55, is an Indian national and a resident of Kenya. The defendants are charged with conspiring to import heroin into the United States (Count One), conspiring to import methamphetamine into the United States (Count Two), distributing heroin for unlawful importation into the United States (Count Three), and distributing methamphetamine for unlawful importation in the United States (Count Four). Each count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
DEA’s Special Operations Division’s Bilateral Investigations Unit led the investigation. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in bringing the defendants to the United States to face charges. DEA’s Nairobi Country Office, the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the Kenyan National Police Services Anti-Narcotics Unit, and members of the Kenyan DEA Formal Vetted Unit were also instrumental in the case.