08ASTANA352, KAZAKHSTAN: TYPHOON COUNTER-NARCOTICS OPERATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA352 2008-02-20 03:26 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO2011
PP RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHTA #0352/01 0510326
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200326Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1811
RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000352 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL (BALABANIAN); SCA/CEN (OMARA) 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM KCOR PREL KZ
 
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: TYPHOON COUNTER-NARCOTICS OPERATION 
 
1.  Summary:  Law enforcement agencies of Kazakhstan, Russia, 
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with the assistance of Afghanistan, broke 
up one of the largest Central Asian trafficking organizations.  As a 
result of the multi-stage operation "Typhoon" conducted over the 
past three years, law enforcement initiated 24 criminal cases and 
arrested 42 active members of an international drug ring, including 
14 citizens of Kazakhstan.  A total of 800 kilos of heroin and 100 
kilos of opium were seized in the four countries during the 
operation.  End Summary. 
 
2.  On January 17, a multi-year operation conducted by the 
Committees for National Security (in Kazakhstan, KNB)and Border 
Guard Services of Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan 
culminated in the arrest of B. Makhmudkhodzhayev (AKA "Boar"), the 
head of one of the largest narco-trafficking organizations in the 
region, and five of his accomplices in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  At the 
time of their arrest, Makhmudkhodzhayev and his accomplices were in 
possession of ten kilos of heroin.  As a result of the operation, 
all branches of his operations were disrupted in the participating 
countries. 
 
3.  Makhmudkhodzhayev, a citizen of Tajikistan residing in Tashkent, 
organized and managed the secretive and well-organized group 
transporting heroin and opium through Central Asia to Russia.  The 
drug couriers transported drugs via two routes: from Shymkent (on 
the Kazakhstani-Uzbek border) through Taraz, Karaganda, Astana, and 
Petropavlovsk and from Shymkent through Taraz, Almaty, Taldy Korgan, 
and Ust-Kamenogorsk. 
 
------------------------ 
THE BEGINNING OF THE END 
------------------------ 
 
4.  Law enforcement began targeting Makhmudkhodzhayev in February 
2004, when he was identified as the main source of heroin and opium 
to the largest Kazakhstani drug ring operated by Ilkham 
Mirzakhmedov.  In an earlier operation against Mirzakhmedov's 
organization, 14 people, including Mirzakhmedov, were convicted and 
sentenced to prison.  The KNB seized 200 kilos of heroin and 30 
kilos of opium. Following the arrest of Mirzakhmedov, the 
Kazakhstani KNB followed the trail to Makhmudkhodzhayev and 
continued its investigation. 
 
5.  The KNB struck a second blow at Makhmudkhodzhayev by halting the 
delivery of a large quantity of narcotics bound for Russia.  The 
drug couriers were stopped in Kostanaiskaya oblast (Northern 
Kazakhstan) on the Kazakhstani-Russian border in October 2005.  The 
operation resulted in the seizure of 70 kilos of opium and 20 kilos 
of heroin. 
 
------------- 
BOAR RETREATS 
------------- 
 
6.  After the arrest of his associates in Kazakhstan, 
Makhmudkhodzhayev stopped traveling to Kazakhstan and moved his 
residence from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan.  Living in Tashkent, he 
substantially extended the scale of his criminal activity and became 
one of the main traffickers of narcotics from Afghanistan to Central 
Asia and Russia.  By this time, Boar was purchasing directly from 
farmers in Afghanistan.  During a press conference on February 14, 
German Didenko, Head of the Kazakhstani KNB Division on Combating 
International Drug Trafficking explained that a portion of the 
heroin trafficked through Kazakhstan remained in the local market. 
For the most part, shipments of less than 10 kilos remained in 
Kazakhstan for local sale.  He also said that the heroin transported 
through Kazakhstan was extremely pure and was transported by drug 
couriers in nut shells, persimmons, and cheese.  Couriers also used 
natural gas tanks on vehicles. 
 
7.  During the investigation into Boar's activities, agents and 
operations officers worked undercover in his cartel.  As a result of 
the undercover work, law enforcement was able to closely monitor 
Makhmudkhodzhayev and his operations throughout the region.  Eight 
special operations conducted from May 2007 through February 2008 in 
Almaty, Shymkent, Karaganda and Petropavlovsk led to the seizure of 
100 kilos of heroin.  German Didenko also announced that the 
operation was successful due to the close cooperation of 
Afghanistan.  In 2007, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan signed a 
Memorandum of Understanding to fight narcotics. 
 
8.  Comment.  This large-scale, multinational operation proves that 
the countries of Central Asia and Russia are capable of cooperating 
in the long-term fight against narco-traffickers.  The operation 
began prior to the opening of the Central Asian Regional Information 
and Coordination Center (CARICC), but future operations are expected 
to be coordinated through CARICC.  This operation is also proof of 
Kazakhstan's new focus on quality operations against entire cartels 
and not just arrests of drug couriers to increase its seizure 
 
ASTANA 00000352  002 OF 002 
 
 
statistics. 
 
ORDWAY

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