Treasury Designates Afghanistan-Based Heroin Trafficker And Hawaladar With Ties To The Taliban

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Afghan national Atiqullah Ahmady Mohammad Din as a specially designated narcotics trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his significant role in international narcotics trafficking.  OFAC also designated his brother, Sadiq Ahmady, and four entities in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that act for or on behalf of Mohammad Din and provide support to his narcotics trafficking activities. 

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which Mohammad Din, Sadiq Ahmady, or the companies have an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

Mohammad Din is a major heroin and opium trafficker in southern Afghanistan who operates two heroin labs located in the Mussah Qalah and Sangin Districts in Helmand Province.  Mohammad Din’s heroin trafficking business began during the Taliban regime, and he continues to maintain contact with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.  Mohammad Din manufactures tons of heroin, which his network sells or smuggles abroad.  In addition, Mohammad Din handles the personal and business affairs of Haji Agha Jan Alizai, a major narcotics trafficker and Taliban financier who was identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in June 2010 and also designated a specially designated global terrorist in October 2010.

The four companies designated today are based in Afghanistan and the UAE, and are controlled by Mohammad Din and Sadiq Ahmady.  The companies are: Etehad Brothers, a hawala in Afghanistan; Atiqullah General Trading Company LLC, in Dubai; Etihad Group of Afghanistan, a manufacturing and distribution business located in Kandahar, Afghanistan; and Etehad Beverage Company LTD, a food importation and soft drink distribution firm that is also located in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“Today’s designations reveal another link between illicit finance activities and ostensibly legitimate businessmen in Afghanistan,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin.  “This announcement sends a clear message that Treasury remains resolute in its efforts to target narcotics trafficking activities and will continue to expose those who support these activities by sanctioning individuals, affiliated businesses, and financial networks, including money exchange houses.”

The investigation that led to this designation was the result of collaborative efforts of Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC).  The ATFC which is based in Afghanistan, collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence reporting on Afghan insurgent financing.

Today’s action is part of ongoing efforts pursuant to the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide.  The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,400 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.  Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties.  Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million.  Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.  Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

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