Suspected Drug Ring Mastermind Arrested in London, Faces Extradition to US

The suspected mastermind of an international drug-smuggling operation has been arrested in London and faces extradition to the United States on charges that carry at least 30 years in prison upon conviction, prosecutors in New York said Friday.

Muhammad Asif Hafeez, 58, a Pakistani national known as “The Sultan,” was charged with trafficking several tons of heroin and methamphetamine, U.S. prosecutors said. He faces three counts in federal court in Manhattan, each with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.

Lawyers for Hafeez could not immediately be identified.

Prosecutors said that from 2013 until his arrest, Hafeez conspired to import methamphetamine into the United States. They said that at one point, Hafeez and others sought to establish a methamphetamine production facility in Mozambique, but had to abandon that plan after authorities seized several tons of ephedrine from a factory in India that was to be used to make the methamphetamine.

Prosecutors have also accused Hafeez of conspiring to import heroin into the United States with Baktash Akasha Abdalla, the leader of an organized crime family in Kenya, and others.

Akasha was arrested in 2014 in a U.S.-led sting operation and was extradited along with three others to face charges in New York in January.

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