Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anne Milgram, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today the extradition of Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech for attempting to import heroin into the United States. The defendants, both citizens of Pakistan, were taken into custody by Thai authorities in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 11, 2021, and extradited to the United States today from Thailand. They will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn later today.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech trafficked in wholesale importation of heroin to the United States. Thanks to the DEA’s global reach and the assistance of law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the defendants are in U.S. custody and facing serious federal charges.”
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said: “At a time when the United States is facing an opioid overdose epidemic of unprecedented proportions, it is critical that DEA stop the flow of heroin into the country before it makes its way to our communities. Directly because of DEA’s efforts, Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech are now on American soil, facing significant criminal charges for their alleged crimes.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaints charging the defendants, which were unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Beginning in late 2019, MAULABAKSH GORGEECH and NIAMATULLAH GORGEECH, Asia-based drug traffickers, began communicating and meeting with individuals whom they believed were heroin traffickers interested in purchasing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for importation into the United States. Those individuals were, in fact, confidential sources working at the DEA’s direction, and an undercover DEA agent posing as a New York-based heroin distributor. In March 2019, NIAMATULLAH GORGEECH caused a sample of approximately seven kilograms of heroin to be delivered in Afghanistan, with the understanding that those drugs would be transported to and sold in the United States. In July 2019, MAULABAKSH GORGEECH offered to provide as many as 100 kilograms of heroin for importation to the United States. In September 2019, MAULABAKSH GORGEECH caused another sample of approximately seven kilograms of heroin to be delivered in Afghanistan, for importation and sale in the United States. Following these sample shipments, MAULABAKSH GORGEECH and NIAMATULLAH GORGEECH planned to supply larger quantities of heroin for importation to and distribution within the United States.
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MAULABAKSH GORGEECH, 43, and NIAMATULLAH GORGEECH, 37, each a citizen of Pakistan, are charged with one count of attempting to import heroin into the United States, and MAULABAKSH GORGEECH is also charged with a second count of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States. Each count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, and the OCDETF New York Strike Force; the DEA’s Bangkok, Islamabad, Kabul, and Bucharest Country Offices, and Guam Resident Office; the United States Central Command; U.S. Embassy in Bangkok’s Consul General’s Office and Diplomatic Security Service; the Royal Thai Government’s Office of the Attorney General – International Affairs Department, Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau – Sensitive Investigative Unit, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. Ms. Strauss also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for its ongoing assistance.