MUHAMMAD Asif Hafeez, aka “Sultan,” was provisionally arrested in London pursuant to charges filed in the Southern District of New York, which were unsealed on Friday, based on Hafeez’s participation in drug-trafficking activities involving large, and in some instances multi-ton, quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, and methamphetamine precursor chemicals.
The announcement was made in Manhattan, New York, on Friday by Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond Donovan, the Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The United States plans to seek Hafeez’s extradition from the United Kingdom.
“The arrest of Muhammad Asif Hafeez is another win in the fight against global criminals and one of DEA’s priority targets,” said Donovan. “He has been allegedly linked to a transnational criminal organization responsible for manufacturing and distributing ton quantities of narcotics. Removing criminals like Hafeez benefits not just the citizens of London, but communities worldwide.”
Kim said, “As alleged, Muhammad Asif Hafeez, a long-time, priority target of the DEA known as the ‘Sultan,’ trafficked in drugs on a massive and global scale, working with transnational criminal organizations to manufacture and distribute enormous quantities of heroin and methamphetamine around the world and into the United States. From Kenya and Mozambique to London and New York, Hafeez’s alleged drug operation saw no borders or boundaries – until now. Thanks to the unwavering commitment of the DEA and the prosecutors in this Office, the ‘Sultan’ has been caught and will have to face American narcotics charges.”
According to the allegations contained in S5 and S7 Superseding Indictments filed in Manhattan federal court charging Hafeez and certain of his co-conspirators:
From 2013 through the date of his provisional arrest, Hafeez conspired to import methamphetamine into the United States. In connection with this conspiracy, Hafeez and certain of his co-conspirators sought to establish a methamphetamine-production facility in Mozambique. But Hafeez and his co-conspirators were forced to abandon their plan after law enforcement authorities seized approximately 18 tons of ephedrine from a factory in Solapur, India, including several tons of ephedrine that Hafeez and his co-conspirators planned to use as a precursor chemical to manufacture methamphetamine in Mozambique.
Hafeez is also charged with participating in a conspiracy with co-defendants Baktash Akasha Abdalla, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla, Gulam Hussein, and Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami to import heroin into the United States. Baktash Akasha Abdalla was the leader of an organized crime family in Kenya (the “Akasha Organization”), which was responsible for the production and distribution of ton quantities of narcotics within Kenya and throughout Africa and maintained a network used to distribute narcotics for importation into the U.S. In October 2014, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla delivered a one-kilogram heroin sample, on behalf of Hafeez and the Akasha Organization, to confidential sources acting at the direction of the DEA in Nairobi. In early November 2014, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla delivered 98 additional kilograms of heroin to the sources.
In November 2014, Baktash Akasha Abdalla, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla, Hussein, and Goswami were provisionally arrested in Kenya. They arrived in the District for prosecution based on the pending drug-trafficking charges in January 2017.
Hafeez, 58, a Pakistani national residing in, among other places, London, is charged with conspiring to import heroin into the United States; conspiring to import methamphetamine into the United States; and aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin, knowing and intending that it would be imported into the United States. Each charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.