Heroin abuse in the US has increased dramatically in recent years as people addicted to narcotic painkillers switch to heroin as a cheaper and more easily obtained drug. All of the heroin consumed in the US is produced outside of the country according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the UN estimated that Afghanistan accounted for nearly 80% of the world’s opium in 2010.
The DEA has agents working around the world to fight drug trafficking, and the US has been vigorously fighting the heroin trade in Afghanistan. With help from a number of other countries, this agency just scored a major coup against Afghan drug traffickers. The DEA announced charges against three significant Afghanistan heroin traffickers on July 17, 2015.
Thailand officials arrested two of the men on June 13, 2015, and they are now in the US facing a maximum penalty of life in prison. Haji Lajward and Amal Said Said Alam Shah will be arraigned before a US magistrate on July 17. Haibubullah remains at large.
The men were charged with conspiring to import one or more kilograms of heroin into the US and to distribute one or more kilograms of the drug knowing that and intending that it would be imported into the US.
The Indictment alleges that Lajaward had three kilograms of heroin delivered to another individual in Kabul on January 15, 2015, while Habibullah received payment for it in the United Arab Emirates. Lajaward and Shah spoke on the phone about the heroin transaction later that day.
DEA agents who led this investigation included those in the Special Operations Division, the New York Field Division, and in DEA Offices in Kabul, Dubai, Bangkok Country, and Tokyo. The US Department of Justice Office of International Affairs and the US Department of State also contributed to this successful operation.
This investigation was truly a global operation that involved INTERPOL, and law enforcement agencies from Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan were integral to the success of the operation. Three high-level Thai agencies helped this operation to succeed:
- Attorney General’s Office
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Sensitive Investigation Unit of the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau