- Haji Bagcho moved more than 123,000 kilograms of heroin in 2006, prosecutors say
- He was accused of giving support to high-level members of the Taliban
- Bagcho faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years
An Afghan national with suspected ties to the Taliban was found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy, distribution of heroin for importation and narco-terrorism, the Justice Department said.
Haji Bagcho shipped the drug to more than 20 countries, including the United States, and used the proceeds to help support the Taliban's Afghan insurgency, the Justice Department said.
"One of the world's most prolific drug trafficker's reign has come to an end," Michele Leonhart, Drug Enforcement Administration administrator, said to announce the conviction. "Now Haji Bagcho will serve time behind bars on the same soil he sought to destroy with his drugs, and whose troops he sought to kill through his support to the Taliban."
Bagcho faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and could face up to life in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 12.
The U.S. investigation into Bagcho's organization began in 2005. At one point, it turned up a 2006 ledger of his, showing heroin trades totaling more than 123,000 kilograms, worth more than $250 million, prosecutors said.
The investigation also turned up evidence that Bagcho used a part of his proceeds to support senior-level members of the Taliban responsible for insurgent activity in eastern Afghanistan, they said.
Bagcho, from Nangarhar province, was arrested after an undercover operation conducted by Afghan law enforcement, officials said then. He was brought to the United States in 2009.
Bagcho was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.