Friday, March 11, 2016

US Treasury sanctions Tanzanian Kingpin and his East Afirca Based Drug Trafficking Organization

Date of press release: 3/9/2016

​Action Targets the Hassan Drug Trafficking Organization, a Key Cocaine and Heroin Smuggling Organization 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Tanzanian national Ali Khatib Haji Hassan (a.k.a. “Shkuba”) and the Hassan Drug Trafficking Organization as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Hassan is a major international drug kingpin who smuggles multi-ton shipments of heroin and cocaine to Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America via his East Africa-based drug trafficking organization. As a result of today’s action, all assets of Hassan and his organization that are within U.S. jurisdiction or that are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

After an intensive two-year manhunt, Hassan was arrested in 2014 by Tanzanian authorities for smuggling approximately 210 kilograms of heroin, which was seized in January 2012 in Lindi, Tanzania. Hassan has frequently attempted to bribe African government officials to avoid arrest and prosecution for his drug trafficking activities. 

“Today’s action imposes sanctions on Ali Khatib Haji Hassan and his illicit drug trafficking network for smuggling heroin and cocaine around the world and seeking to use their illicit profits to bribe African government officials,” said OFAC Acting Director John E. Smith. “Narcotics traffickers like the Hassan Drug Trafficking Organization pose a significant threat to the international financial system and regional stability, and Treasury remains committed to exposing and targeting those fueling the global drug trade.”

The Hassan Drug Trafficking Organization obtains multi-ton quantities of heroin from sources in Southwest Asia as well as multi-ton quantities of cocaine from South American suppliers. Since at least 2006, Hassan has directed members of his network to send shipments of heroin to destinations including China, Europe, and the United States. Hassan served as the primary distributor for Tanzania-based drug traffickers who regularly received multi-hundred kilogram maritime shipments of heroin from the Makran coast of Pakistan and Iran. Hassan also oversaw an extensive drug network in Latin America that distributed South American cocaine into East Africa en route to Europe and China.

Since June 2000, more than 1,800 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States

Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

To see the identifying information relating to today’s actions, click here.

For the report to Congress identifying Ali Khatib Haji Hassan and the Hassan Drug Trafficking Organization pursuant to Section 805(b)(l) of the Kingpin Act, click here.

For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.




After his arrest, Shikuba was driven to Central Police Station under tight security. He was taken to Lindi the following morning and charged with trafficking in drugs. (Photo: The Citizen - File) 

Story by The Citizen on Sunday (TANZANIA) -- Anti-drugs police have arrested a man believed to be the country’s most wanted drug kingpin. Ali Khatibu Haji, popularly known as Shikuba, was arrested at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) last Sunday after two years of an intensive manhunt.

The 44-year-old is considered one of the most powerful and influential drug barons in Tanzania. He is said to be the leader of a cartel operating principally in East Africa but with a reach as far as China, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

He was charged last week with trafficking in a record 210 kilograms of heroin worth around Sh10 billion. Police seized the drugs in Lindi in January 2012 and have linked him with the haul. Shikuba reportedly fled to South Africa the same day the drugs were seized and has since been in hiding.

It is not clear how he sneaked into the country and managed to get a new passport but on February 28, the manhunt paid off. Investigators had been on his trail in Dar es Salaam before cornering him at the airport as he prepared to leave the country.

He had been at the airport for an hour before officers from the anti-drugs task force descended on him and arrested him at around 1 p.m. as he was about to board a South African Airways flight. The head of the Anti-Drugs Unit (ADU), Mr Godfrey Nzowa, told The Citizen on Sunday: “It’s true that we got him. His arrest is a major milestone in our efforts to nab the big fish. He is among the suspected powerful and influential traffickers.”

Entries in his passport indicate that Shikuba had in the past two years frequented Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Japan and Brazil. The passport was issued in Zanzibar in June last year.

Shikuba has also been charged with the murder in 2007 of a young Tanzanian who died in China after reportedly swallowing drugs. According to police reports, Shikuba used the victim as a courier. He was acquitted, though, after the Director of Public Prosecution dropped the charges for lack of sufficient evidence.

Two years later, officers from ADU arrested Shikuba and asked the Ilala district court to place him under the watch of the police and courts because they had reliable information that he was a notorious drug dealer operating in and outside the country. The court ordered him to report to ADU once a month for a year. One of the security officers who took part in the arrest told The Citizen on Sunday that the suspect was “big-headed” upon his arrest. He reportedly refused to cooperate with the police and told them he would only speak in court.

After his arrest, Shikuba was driven to Central Police Station under tight security. He was taken to Lindi the following morning and charged with trafficking in drugs.

The Citizen on Sunday has reliably learnt that authorities in US and UK are also on his trail over similar accusations. Shikuba was among 12 people appearing on the list of suspected notorious drug dealers released by a Tanzanian prisoner in Hong Kong last year. He is also among 122 suspected drug dealers who were arrested between 2007 and 2008 and put under court and police supervision.

Anti-drugs officials in Tanzania have for the past year intensified the war against drug trafficking and registered significant success at transit points such as airports. Dozens have been arrested in the past year at JNIA and Kilimanjaro International Airport. Early last month, authorities impounded 201 kilograms of heroin worth $5.5 million (Sh9 billion) hidden in an Iranian ship. The development came just a few weeks after the Canadian military ship Toronto impounded 265 bags of heroin weighing more than 280kgs aboard a vessel while patrolling the Indian Ocean

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