extradited suspected drug kingpins

Tanzanian authorities on Wednesday extradited suspected drug kingpins to the United States.

The extradition is in line with President John Magufuli drive against narcotics in the country. He launched the campaign in February saying they were growing international concern that East Africa was being used as a hub by drug traffickers.

A good number of discovered record-sized hauls in the East African region has raised fears that it is seen as an easy route. This is largely due to the weak maritime surveillance and porous borders in the region.

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The U.S. Embassy revealed in a statement that the alleged drug kingpin is wanted in the United States on narcotics trafficking charges.

It listed the soon to be extradited suspected drug kingpins as Ali Khatib Haji Hassan, also known as Shkuba, Iddy Salehe and Tiko Emanual. Their arrests came about as a result of the collaboration between Tanzanian and US security, law enforcement and justice agencies.

Khatib is considered to be one of the most powerful and influential drug barons in Tanzania. Last year, the US Treasury Department described Khatib as a major international drug kingpin. He is said to be responsible for smuggling multi-tonne shipments of heroin and cocaine all around the world.

He is also the leader of a cartel operating principally in East Africa but with a reach as far as China, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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The 44-year-old was arrested in 2014 by Tanzanian authorities for smuggling more than 200 kg of heroin worth about Sh10 billion.

Police seized the drugs in Lindi in January 2012 and linked him with the haul. He reportedly fled to South Africa the same day the drugs were seized and has since been in hiding. He was arrested two years later at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) after an intensive manhunt.