The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Friday an international drug kingpin pleaded guilty in a New York court to trafficking heroin.
Pakistani Shahbaz Khan, who pleaded guilty the day before Friday’s announcement, led a drug operation based out of Afghanistan and Pakistan that shipped massive amounts of heroin around the world. He was named a Narcotics Kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act in 2007, designating him as a significant drug trafficker and preventing him from doing business with U.S. companies and individuals.
“Khan led a massive and sophisticated heroin network based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the vast majority of drug trafficking proceeds have historically been used to finance terrorist insurgencies against the U.S. and our global allies,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
The 70-year-old Khan faces a minimum of 10 years in prison.
U.S. authorities began closing in on Khan in August 2016. Khan began interacting with DEA operatives believing he was setting up a deal to ship many tons of heroin to New York. He delivered a preliminary shipment of five kilograms of heroin to undercover DEA agents and confirmed the authenticity of the drug and its origin in phone calls that were recorded.
Liberian authorities arrested Khan in December 2016 while the drug lord was traveling to inspect a warehouse used in his operations. He was extradited to the U.S. to face trial.
“He agreed to send huge amounts of deadly drugs to American streets and neighborhoods, which would have fueled the current opioid epidemic and facilitated addiction and abuse by supplying huge amounts of heroin to New York and nationwide,” Berman said. (RELATED: Bill De Blasio Backs Government-Sponsored Heroin Injection Sites)
More than 70,000 Americans died because of drug overdoses in 2017. In order to combat the opioid epidemic in New York, officials are considering building facilities where addicts can use drugs under medical supervision.
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