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Cablegate: Tajik President Fires Senior Anti-Narcotics Officer To

VZCZCXRO6831
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHDBU #1420 2771552
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 041552Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1065
INFO RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2961
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 2261
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 2250
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2206
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

S E C R E T DUSHANBE 001420

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

EO 12958 DECL: 10/4/2017
TAGS PREL, PGOV, SNAR, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK PRESIDENT FIRES SENIOR ANTI-NARCOTICS OFFICER TO
PROTECT A RELATIVE FROM PROSECUTION

CLASSIFIED BY: Tom Hushek, Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Exec, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (c), (d)

1. (S) Summary: President Rahmon has fired a senior anti-narcotics officer who pressed for prosecution of a distant relative and Major from the State Committee for National Security (i.e. the KGB) who were arrested while transporting heroin in a government vehicle. XXXXXXXXXXXX End Summary.

2. (S) Post learned from a source in the Ministry of Interior that XXXXXXXXXXXX President Rahmon personally fired XXXXXXXXXXXX. This resulted from the intercept a week ago, by XXXXXXXXXXXX police, of a State Security vehicle in southern Tajikistan carrying about 60 kilograms of heroin. The car was driven by State Security officers, one of whom was a distant relative of President Rahmon. This was the third such detection and arrest of State Security personnel moving narcotics in government vehicles in the past year. XXXXXXXXXXXX pressed for the prosecution of all of the officers involved, including the president’s relative. XXXXXXXXXXXX’s firing was allegedly the result of this effort. The Minister of Interior reportedly met the president XXXXXXXXXXXX and pleaded for XXXXXXXXXXXX to keep his job, to no avail.

3. (S) This is the only case we know of where the president has intervened personally to remove a high-level official to protect his relatives from drugs-related prosecution. However, this is part of a pattern of high level intervention, sometimes using the president’s Anti-Corruption Commission, to protect organized crime members involved in drugs, money laundering, and protection/extortion activities within Tajikistan.

4. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX led the most effective counter narcotics organization in Tajikistan. His police division seized several times as much heroin per year as the Drug Control Agency XXXXXXXXXXXX had been in his position for the past decade, and had the reputation of a competent, relatively uncorrupt, and committed law enforcement officer. XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX

5. (S) Comment: XXXXXXXXXXXX stepped on two land mines: repeatedly arresting State Security officers who were working as drug couriers, and then going after a relative of the president. XXXXXXXXXXXX any committed officer who XXXXXXXXXXXX wishes to pursue drug cases to a high level or close to the president, faces the same minefield. This incident emphasizes the vulnerability of senior officials to summary removal if they displease the president or touch his family interests. This in turn illustrates the need for our engagement on narcotics to be both broad and deep, and not heavily reliant on individuals who might disappear without warning. End Comment.
HUSHEK

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