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Afghan Farmer's Undercover Work Helps Convict Taliban Member in U.S. Court

A still taken from a video secretly recorded by the Afghan farmer shows Khan Mohammed inspecting heroin at his home in October 2006.
A still taken from a video secretly recorded by the Afghan farmer shows Khan Mohammed inspecting heroin at his home in October 2006. (Courtesy Of U.s. Drug Enforcement Administration)

With money supplied by the DEA, they met and haggled with dealers at a bustling bazaar, located near the county police station.

A few days later, wearing a hidden video camera, Jaweed walked into the dealer's house and sat on the floor. The camera recorded the drug dealers as they chatted with Mohammed and argued about the opium and its purity. After paying the dealers the equivalent of $2,750 in Pakistani currency, Jaweed and Mohammed left -- with 11 kilograms of opium packed in burlap sacks that they slung over their shoulders for the long walk home.

To ensure they could build a case under U.S. drug laws, the DEA agents pressed Jaweed to tell Mohammed that the narcotics were destined for the United States. Jaweed told Mohammed that his friend "is sending the powder to the United States and France, mostly to American cities. . . . The opium is going abroad and all other powders are going abroad."

"Good, may God turn all the infidels into dead corpses," Mohammed replied, adding, "Whether it is by opium or by shooting, this is our common goal."

Within weeks, Jaweed was arranging another deal. This time for heroin.

In October 2006, Mohammed gave Jaweed just under two kilograms of heroin, a transaction captured on Jaweed's hidden camera. Mohammed sat on a rug in his austere house next to his 4-year-old son and methodically inspected two hefty bags of heroin before handing them over to Jaweed for $6,000.

Mohammed was planning to use a commission on the sale and future deals, prosecutors said, to support the Taliban and its "terrorist activity." He told Jaweed he was going to buy a car, for example, to aid the transportation of weapons, prosecutors said.

Within days, Mohammed was arrested at a police checkpoint and flown to the United States. In May, the jury deliberated about two hours before convicting Mohammed on both counts. It was the first such conviction under the narco-terrorism statute, which was passed by Congress in 2006 to make it easier to prosecute terrorism-related drug offenses.

Jaweed was hailed as a hero in court papers filed by prosecutors because he "stood up at great risk to himself and family to do the right thing." The judge yesterday called him "courageous."

For his help, Jaweed received $8,000 from the DEA. But he and his family will never be able to return to their old lives and village. Early this year, prosecutors said, the family compound was hit by grenades and machine-gun fire.

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