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Afghan drug lord indicted in U.S.

- The Washington Times - Monday, October 24, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) -- A drug lord linked to the Taliban has become the first man ever extradited from Afghanistan to face federal charges, authorities said yesterday.

Baz Mohammad, also known as Haji Baz Mohammad, arrived in the U.S. last week to face charges of smuggling more than $25 million of heroin into the United States and elsewhere, the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said.

The indictment unsealed yesterday said Mohammad and a co-defendant identified as Bashir Ahmad Rahmany had conspired since 1990 with others to violate narcotics laws. Rahmany is in custody and awaiting trial.

According to the indictment, Mohammad said in 1990 that selling heroin in the United States was a form of jihad because they were taking the money of Americans and the heroin was killing them.

It said the pair led an international heroin-trafficking organization responsible for manufacturing and transporting hundreds of kilograms of heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The "Baz Mohammad" organization, as prosecutors called it, then arranged for the heroin to be imported into the United States and other countries and sold for tens of millions of dollars, the indictment said.

Proceeds were laundered back to the drug organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the indictment.

The government said Mohammad was the leader of the organization and controlled the organization's supply of heroin. Rahmany worked with other co-conspirators to distribute the heroin in the United States, it said.

In June, President Bush added Mohammad to the nation's list of individuals and organizations the administration deems to be major foreign narcotics traffickers.