Guinea-Bissau ex-navy chief in US court

2013-04-06 11:07
Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto (AFP)

Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto (AFP)

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New York - The former navy chief of Guinea-Bissau and four others were ordered detained in New York on Friday after being arrested for an alleged trans-Atlantic cocaine trafficking plot.

The highest-profile member of the alleged gang was Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, a US-designated drug "kingpin" who is alleged to have exploited political chaos in his West African homeland to establish himself as a major middleman in the international narcotics trade.

The five were presented before a Manhattan federal judge and ordered detained without bail, but did not enter pleas, the US prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Separately, two more men in the alleged plot were arrested in Colombia, where they are alleged to have been in league with the country's narco-guerrilla organisation FARC.

Cocaine shipments

The indictment against Na Tchuto - better known as Bubo in his deeply impoverished country - and two other defendants, Papis Djeme and Tchamy Yala, alleges they plotted to aid cocaine shipments from Latin America reach their markets in the United States and Europe.

They "worked together to receive ton-quantities of cocaine, transported by vessel from South America to Guinea-Bissau, and then to store the cocaine in Guinea-Bissau before its shipment to other locations, including the United States," the indictment says.

All three were detained after an undercover sting operation that began about last August and culminated in dramatic arrests by US agents on a boat in international waters off West Africa on Tuesday, the federal prosecutor's office for Manhattan said.

According to prosecutors, the sting operation persuaded Bubo and his alleged accomplices that they were dealing with a cocaine broker and a cocaine supplier from Latin America. Both were actually working for the DEA, or US Drug Enforcement Administration.

During the sting, the three defendants allegedly discussed receiving shipments of cocaine of 1 000kg at a time - first helping it arrive from Latin America, then moving it from Guinea-Bissau to Western markets. Bubo set his fee at $1m per shipment, the indictment said.

The two others appearing before the judge on Friday were Manuel Mamadi Mane and Saliu Sisse.

They were charged along with the two men still in Colombia - Rafel Antonio Garavito-Garcia and Gustavo Perez-Garcia - in the related alleged conspiracy of aiding the FARC.


Read more on:    us  |  guinea-bissau  |  narcotics

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