Cablegate: Important Drug Trafficking Transit Point for East

DE RUEHTO #1291/01 3200705
R 160705Z NOV 09

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001291


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2019

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.

Air Routes

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.

Sea Routes

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

MAPUTO 00001291 002 OF 002

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.'

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>