Washington: An alleged international drug trafficker who sourced his illegal drugs mostly from Pakistan, India and China has been extradited from the Czech Republic, the US Justice Department has said.
Shiraz Malik, 34, a Pakistani national who resided in Poland, was arrested at the Prague International Airport on September 8, 2011, following a lengthy investigation that included three meetings of US undercover agents in European cities.
The Justice Department alleged that Malik have controlled a wide-ranging drug trafficking organisation that used internet and front companies in Europe to sell various drugs and controlled substances to customers worldwide.
Extradited to the US on June 22, Malik made his first appearance before Magistrate Judge Gregory Hollows in Sacramento California yesterday for arraignment and pleaded not guilty.
He was ordered detained pending trial.
"The indictment alleges that Shiraz Malik controlled a worldwide organisation that trafficked in a variety of dangerous drugs," said Benjamin Wagner, US Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
Malik, according to the 40-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of California in September last year, sold pharmaceuticals, drugs and highly regulated chemicals to customers in the US, Europe, Mexico and other countries and conspired to launder the profits of that activity from June 2008 onwards.
Malik was in charge of an operation that involved persons in multiple countries who collected and shipped his products and assisted in money laundering, the court document said.
In May 2008, DEA agents learned about two business-to-business internet websites that were offering to sell and illegally import into the US pharmaceutical drugs such as oxycontin, which are controlled substances under US law, and regulated chemicals such as ephedrine HCL, which is a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine.
They were offering controlled substances through the websites of Shama Medical Store in Karachi in Pakistan and Good Luck Trading Company in the United Kingdom.
Both businesses referred customers to email addresses associated with Shiraz Malik.
According to court documents, undercover agents met with Malik on three separate occasions in Milan, Italy (June 2009), Vienna, Austria (November 2009), and in Budapest, Hungary (August 2010).
During those meetings, with the cooperation of law enforcement officials in the host countries, the agents posed as US-based illegal drug dealers and discussed with Malik about future purchases and possible collaborative efforts.
Malik told them that his operation sold a variety of pharmaceutical and controlled substances including: steroids, oxycontin, ketamine, diazepam, lidocaine, illegal drugs including heroin from Pakistan, Ecstasy from Holland, methamphetamine (believed to be made in the Czech Republic) and ephedrine from India or China.
Malik used to take orders from customers via internet and coordinated with his people in Pakistan to fill the orders.
The drugs were sent from Pakistan to the customers, and Malik used email to the customers the tracking numbers that his co-conspirators in Pakistan gave him.
Malik had sold large quantities of ephedrine to one or more customers in Mexico, the country of origin for most of the methamphetamine sold in the US.