United States Attorney Southern District of New York
MARCH 1, 2011
SIERRA LEONE MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY
Defendant Charged In Connection With Historic Joint Undercover Operation In The Republic Of Liberia
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ALI SESAY pled guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge MICHAEL H. DOLINGER to charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine, knowing that a portion of that cocaine would be imported into the United States.
SESAY was indicted along with seven other defendants, whose charges are still pending.
The Government of Liberia’s transfer of SESAY to the United States in May 2010 marked the country’s first transfer of a defendant to the United States in connection with narcotics-related charges in over 30 years.
According to the
Indictments and other court documents:
Since 2007, the defendants attempted to bribe high-level officials in the Liberian Government in order to protect shipments of vast quantities of cocaine, and to use Liberia as a trans-shipment point for further distribution of the cocaine in Africa and Europe. In particular, certain of the defendants met with two individuals they knew to be Liberian government officials –- the Director and Deputy Director of the Republic of Liberia National Security Agency ("RLNSA")–- both of whom were actually working jointly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") in an undercover capacity ("UC-1" and "UC2", respectively).
In a number of the
meetings involving these Liberian officials, the defendants also met with a
confidential source working with DEA (the "CS"), who purported to be a business
partner and confidante of the Director of the RLNSA.
Since 2007, GILBRILLA KAMARA, who is from Sierra Leone, has actively sought to recruit South American drug trafficking organizations to establish operations in various West Africa countries. KAMARA has made efforts to corrupt and influence Government officials within the West African region in order to establish safe havens for the receipt, storage, and trans-shipment of thousands of kilograms of cocaine.
GENNOR JALLOH and SESAY, both of whom are also from Sierra Leone, have assisted KAMARA with his drug distribution enterprise and with his efforts to corrupt public officials for the benefit of South American drug trafficking organizations.
KAMARA, JALLOH, and
SESAY exchanged a series of emails and telephone calls and held numerous
meetings with the CS, the cooperating Liberian officials, and a third Liberian
government official who was also working jointly with the DEA in an undercover
capacity ("UC-3"), in order to negotiate prices and make specific arrangements
for the secure transportation of cocaine from South America through Liberia,
including a 4,000kilogram shipment of cocaine from Colombia. In the course of
these meetings, the defendants understood that the CS, who was to be paid by the
defendants in the form of cocaine, would send a portion of his share of the
cocaine to Ghana, from where it would be imported into New York aboard
Charges against the defendants in the two indictments remain pending.
A trial date for KAMARA and JALLOH –- charged in U.S. v. Kamara et al. –- has not yet been set.
This prosecution is
being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys JENNA M. DABBS, MICHAEL M. ROSENSAFT, CHRISTOPHER
LAVIGNE, and RANDALL W. JACKSON are in charge of these prosecutions.