NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two Pakistani nationals were extradited to the United States to face criminal charges that they conspired to aid a Colombian group that the U.S. government has designated as a foreign terrorist organisation, federal prosecutors announced on Friday.
Pirzada Khawaja Abdul Hameed Chishti and Pirzada Khawaja Abdul Wahab Chishti had been arrested in Spain in June 2014, along with co-defendants Sohail Kaskar and Ali Danish.
Hameed Chishti and Wahab Chishti were expected to appear on Friday in federal court in Manhattan. The United States is still seeking Kaskar and Danish’s extradition.
U.S. prosecutors allege that Hameed Chishti, 47, and Wahab Chishti, 49, tried to provide material support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, including through the sale of multiple kilograms of heroin and Russian-made surface-to-air missiles to protect its drug trafficking business.
The defendants allegedly agreed to these sales in various meetings in 2013 and 2014 with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informants who were posing as members of FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Colombian group.
“Hameed and Wahab Chishti illustrate once again that drug trafficking and terror conspiracies often intersect, support, and facilitate each other’s dangerous and potential deadly plots,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Hamlet said in a statement.
The extradited defendants each face charges of conspiring to commit narco-terrorism, provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, import heroin and sell missile launching systems. They face up to life in prison if convicted.
The case is U.S. v. Kaskar et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00326.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis