Cablegate: Important Drug Trafficking Transit Point for East
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1291/01 3200705
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 160705Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0991
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0569
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001291
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCOR SNAR MZ
SUBJECT: IMPORTANT DRUG TRAFFICKING TRANSIT POINT FOR EAST
REF: STATE 105731
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Todd C. Chapman for reasons 1.4 (b and
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Drug trafficking is a growing problem in
Mozambique, with illegal drugs entering via air and sea routes from South Asia and South America. Porous borders, lack of law enforcement resources, and rampant corruption allow drug traffickers to freely transit the country.
2. (S) The primary route for cocaine is by air to Maputo
from Brazil via Johannesburg, Lisbon or Luanda. On arrival passengers and baggage do not pass through immigration and customs, which allows them to avoid he improved security at the airports of origin. Drugs (mostly cocaine) are smuggled overland to South Africa for local South African consumption or onward to Europe. Cocaine is often smuggled by mules and/or in
suitcases with hidden compartments. The drug traffickers
routinely bribe Mozambique police, immigration and customs officials in order to get the drugs into the country. The decrease in drug related arrests at Maputo International Airport is not attributable to improved interdiction efforts but rather increased police and customs involvement in drug smuggling. A high level law enforcement official admits most police drug seizures
are not reported to his office because traffickers and police
make on-the-spot arrangements to allow the drugs to continue to
flow. Police and customs officials routinely detain drug smugglers
and are then bribed to release the smugglers and the drugs are
confiscated and resold. Domingos Tivane, the Director of Customs, is directly involved in facilitating drug shipments. Tivane has amassed a personal fortune in excess of a million dollars, to include numerous investments around Mozambique.
3. (S) Transport by sea is the preferred route for hashish, mandrax
and heroin shipments, often involving large quantities. Drugs come
from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They are then loaded
onto a vessel that sails to Dar Es-Salam, Tanzania, or Mombasa,
Drugs are often concealed in containers with legitimate goods
and are often offloaded and sent via land to Mozambique.
Alternatively, the vessel offloads its cargo in the Ports of Maputo, Beira and especially Nacala. Drugs are then smuggled overland to South Africa or onward via air, to the U.S. and Europe.
Two Main Drug Trafficking Networks
4. (S) There are two large drug trafficking networks that
operate in Mozambique. Both of these networks have ties to South
East Asia. Mohamed Bashir Suleiman (MBS) is the head of a well financed
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organized crime and money laundering network centered on the family owned and managed business conglomerate Grupo MBS. Suleiman uses Grupo MBS and proxies like Rassul Trading, run by Ghulam Rassul, and Niza Group, owned by the Ayoub family, to smuggle drugs from Pakistan via Dubai in containers carrying televisions, electrical equipment, cooking oil and automobiles. The Suleiman family has connections in South Africa, Somalia, Pakistan, Latin America and Portugal, and maintains a complex structure of businesses with a wide variety of commercial activities that serve as a cover for a multitude of illegal activities. Suleiman has a close relationship with former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and current President Armando Guebuza, and enjoys
ties to senior level Mozambican officials, including the Direct
or of Customs, Tivane. Grupo MBS and the Suleiman family
reportedly have connections in the Ibrahim Dawood international drug syndicate.
5. (S) Ghulam Rassul Moti is a Mozambique based ethnic
South Asian narcotics trafficker who has smuggled hashish and heroin in the Nampula province of Northern Mozambique since at least 1993. He has been linked to several prominent international narcotics traffickers and uses these relationships and his political influence to avoid customs and police inspections at the seaports and borders. Moti owns Rassul Trading Co. and Grupo ARJ which are major narcotics importers in Nacala, and suspected in the trafficking of persons, mainly Pakistanis. Post is also seeing increased cooperation between West and East African based narcotics networks with Mozambique drug networks. The
main drug organizations are rumored to support extremist Islamist
elements in Mozambique.
Corruption of Senior Level Government Officials
6. (S) A porous border, lack of resources for law
enforcement as well as endemic corruption among Mozambique's senior level officials leads to a situation where drug traffickers are able to freely transit the country. Mid-level Mozambican officials are afraid to go after people involved in the major drug networks because they know they have connections to senior level government officials.
Senior members of the ruling FRELIMO party are seeking to hide the level of corruption from the press, the electorate and the international donor community. As a high level law enforcement official also said recently in private, 'Some fish are too big to catch.'