DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman announced today the extradition of Muhammad Khalid Khan for attempting to import heroin into the United States and laundering what he believed to be narcotics proceeds into the United States. Khan was taken into custody by Nigerian authorities in Lagos, Nigeria, on Feb. 9, 2019, and extradited to the United States today. He will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox later today. An initial conference is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick, to whom the case is assigned, for May 1, 2019.
“Khan’s extradition to the United States means he will no longer be able to ship poison into our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher T. Tersigni. “We look forward to bringing him to justice to answer for the crimes he is accused of.”
“As alleged, Muhammad Khalid Khan was making high-level heroin deals to send multi-hundred kilogram shipments at a time to the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Unbeknownst to Khan, he was dealing with undercover law enforcement. The extradition of Khan from halfway around the world to face justice in New York is emblematic of this office’s commitment to keep deadly heroin out of our neighborhoods.”
According to the allegations contained in the complaint and indictment, which were unsealed today:
Beginning in October 2017, Khan, an Asia-based drug trafficker, began talking to and meeting with individuals who he believed were heroin traffickers interested in purchasing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for importation into the United States and Australia. Those individuals were, in fact, an undercover foreign law enforcement agent, a confidential source working at the DEA’s direction and an undercover DEA agent posing as a New York-based heroin distributor. Between approximately October 2017 and June 2018, Khan attempted to send hundreds of kilograms of heroin hidden in maritime shipping containers to New York City and Australia, and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars of what he believed to be narcotics proceeds from Australia into the United States. In January 2018, Khan sold a four-kilogram heroin sample to the undercover agents, with the understanding that two kilograms of heroin would be sold in the United States, and two kilograms would be sold in Australia. Following the success of this sample shipment, Khan planned to supply larger, multi-hundred kilogram quantities of heroin for importation to and distribution within the United States and Australia.
The indictment charges Khan, 31, a citizen of Pakistan, in three counts: (1) attempting to import heroin into the United States, (2) international promotional money laundering and (3) international concealment money laundering. If convicted, Khan faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison on count one, and a maximum sentence of 20 years on each of counts two and three. The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division’s Bilateral Investigations Unit, New York Field Division Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Financial Investigations Unit, and DEA Dallas Field Division; the DEA Dubai, Islamabad, Kabul, Lagos, New Delhi, and Canberra Country Offices, and the Sydney Resident Office; the United States Central Command; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Government of Nigeria; and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. The defendant’s arrest and subsequent extradition are also the result of the close cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.