A suspected drug kingpin nicknamed "The Sultan" who allegedly led a major global network manufacturing and distributing illegal narcotics has been arrested in north London.
Pakistani national Muhammad Asif Hafeez, 58, was detained by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers on Friday (25 August) after being wanted in the United States on charges of conspiring to import drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine.
He faces extradition to the US after investigators said he was importing substantial amounts of illegal drugs into the country since at least 2013. He is said to have led an illegal drug empire with links to Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
On one occasion in 2014, Hafeez is alleged to have offered confidential sources working with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) a mammoth 99kg shipment of heroin, destined for the USA from Kenya.
Hafeez has also been linked to an 18-tonne shipment of the stimulant ephedrine in India, investigators said.
In communications with other members on the network he was referred to as "The Sultan", the NCA claimed.
Hafeez, whose address is listed to a luxury flat in Marylebone, London, is scheduled to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday afternoon where extradition proceedings to the US will begin.
NCA branch commander Martin Huxley said: "This is a hugely significant arrest of a man suspected of being the head of a global drug production and distribution network, with links across Asia, Europe and North America.
"Because of the scale of the criminality alleged here, this is an international investigation and the NCA has worked extremely closely with our partners in the US and UK.
"The organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking at this level fuel violence and exploitation at every step, from the locations overseas where drugs are farmed and produced right through to the dealers on UK street corners."