African ex-navy chief arraigned in U.S. on drug trafficking charges

exA former chief of the navy in Guinea-Bissau in western Africa appeared in a New York City courtroom on Friday to face charges regarding cocaine trafficking, according to a drug enforcement official, Ronald Kubisty.

Rear Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto was flown to New York City after he was detained while traveling on a yacht in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The 62-year-old Adm. Na Tchuto is known to U.S. law enforcement as a narcotics kingpin in Guinea-Bissau’s huge drug trade. The small, former-Portuguese colony is a known point of entry and departure for drug-smuggling, organized-crime organizations.

According to Inspector Ron Kubisty, cocaine is smuggled into Guinea-Bissau from Colombia, or other Latin American countries, and then drug shipments are rerouted to European countries as well as the United States.

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The federal indictment against Adm. Na Tchuto and two other defendants alleges that they were middlemen in a huge drug-smuggling operation originating in Latin America.

It also alleges they all worked together to receive tons of cocaine transported by ships from South America to Guinea-Bissau, and then they stored and protected the cocaine in Guinea-Bissau before its eventual journey to other locations in Europe, including the American mainland.

Adm. Na Tchuto and four other Guinea-Bissau nationals were taken into custody aboard a yacht in international waters in the eastern Atlantic Ocean near the Cape Verde Islands.



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