A man suspected of being the leader of a global drug production and distribution syndicate has been arrested in the UK, following investigations by the National Crime Agency and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Officers from the NCA and the Metropolitan Police detained Pakistani national Muhammad Asif Hafeez, 58, at an address in North London this morning (Friday 25 August). He is wanted in the United States to face charges of conspiring to import drugs and will now face extradition.
Hafeez is alleged to have been the head of an international network involved in manufacturing and distributing large quantities of narcotics. It is further alleged that Hafeez agreed to import narcotics, including heroin and methamphetamine, into the US, dating back to at least 2013.
One such seizure led to the recovery of 99 kilograms of heroin. Another seizure related to Hafeez’s alleged narcotics trafficking involved the recovery of 18 tonnes of ephedrine in India.
In communications with other members on the network he is said to have been referred to as the Sultan.
Hafeez will appear this afternoon before Westminster Magistrates where extradition proceedings will begin.
NCA branch commander Martin Huxley said:
“This is a hugely significant arrest of a man suspected of being the head of a global drug production and distribution network, with links across Asia, Europe and North America.
“Because of the scale of the criminality alleged here, this is an international investigation and the NCA has worked extremely closely with our partners in the US and UK.
“The organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking at this level fuel violence and exploitation at every step, from the locations overseas where drugs are farmed and produced right through to the dealers on UK street corners.”