An alleged international drug trafficker has been extradited to the United States from the Czech Republic to face criminal charges filed in the Eastern District of California, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced this week.
Shiraz Malik is alleged to have controlled a massive drug trafficking organization that used the Internet and front companies in Europe to sell drugs to customers worldwide. According to the 40-count indictment, Malik sold pharmaceuticals, drugs and other regulated chemicals throughout a three-year period to customers in the United States, Europe, Mexico and other countries. Malik is also alleged to have conspired to launder the profits of that activity, DEA said.
"This transnational drug trafficking organization had tentacles that extended across multiple continents, where they operated without regard for life or law," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Williams. "We will continue to fully investigate the extent of this organization and its operations. The success of this case would not be possible without the outstanding assistance and support received from our foreign and domestic counterparts."
In May 2008, DEA agents learned of two business-to-business Internet websites where businesses offered to sell and import drugs and regulated chemicals, such as Oxycontin and ephedrine HCL. Undercover agents used email communications to make numerous purchases of pharmaceutical drugs, ephedrine, ketamine and heroin from Shama Medical and Good Luck Trading. Malik would sent samples of the drugs to the undercover agents as a method to obtain their business. Undercover agents also met with Malik on three separate occasions in Milan, Italy; Vienna, Austria; and Budapest, Hungary, where agents posed as U.S.-based illegal drug dealers and had discussions with Malik about future purchases and possible collaborations.
According to court documents, Malik would take the orders over the Internet and coordinate with co-conspirators in Pakistan to fill the orders. Malik would email tracking numbers for the orders to the customers.
"The indictment alleges that Shiraz Malik controlled a worldwide organization that trafficked in a variety of dangerous drugs," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner. "But if Malik believed that his movement among multiple countries would protect him from law enforcement, he was mistaken. Just as his operation was intentional, so was the effort to apprehend him. We are grateful for the cooperation of Interpol and law enforcement authorities in several countries who assisted in the investigation, and we are pleased that Malik will be facing justice in Sacramento."
The investigation was led by DEA and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.