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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi Arrested in Tustin CA Ran a Hawala with Qader Qudus Convicted of Money Laundering Heroin Trafficking Profits From Pakistan.

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, 34, was taken into custody by agents of the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force about 7 a.m. at his home at 13121 Charloma Drive, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Arthur Nakazato in a Santa Ana courtroom Friday afternoon 2/20/2009.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Niazi, who was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, failed to reveal that his sister is married to Amin al-Haq, who has allegedly served as a bodyguard for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

A search warrant unsealed Friday afternoon alleges that Niazi and his wife, according to documents seized, used a "hawala," an unlicensed money transfer system often used by people from Afghanistan and Pakistan to transfer money from one country to another.

See page 9 of the 53 page Search Warrant for Qader Qudus from June of 2008 and Feb. 2009 (two raids) Read: Ahmadullah Sais Niazi Search Warrant (PDF)

The Hawala system can be used legitimately, but is also exploited by those seeking to avoid U.S. regulations applied to financial remittance systems, according to the search warrant. Receipts dated from 1999 through 2006 document the use of hawalas on at least 57 occasions and the transfer of about $16,400 in cash, according to the search warrant.

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi in Tustin CA was working his Hawala with Qader Qudus and ZSQ Exchange in Freemont CA, Qader Qudus was convicted on money laundering linked to heroin trafficing in 2004.

The majority of the Hawala Receipts from 1999 to 2004 by Ahmadullah Sais Niazi (approx. $16,000) were directed to H. Qadar Qudus aka Qader Qudas and ZSQ Exchange in Freemont CA.

'Hawala' nets Fremont man 27 months Saturday, June 05, 2004 - OAKLAND . Although he went into court facing 46 to 57 months in federal prison, Qader Qudus, 45, ultimately was sentenced to 27 months for his conviction on two counts of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

He has pleaded guilty to a money-laundering count in a separate case in Maryland, a crime punishable by 30 to 37 months in prison, for which he will be sentenced this December. But federal prosecutors have agreed to recommend that sentence run concurrently with the one handed down Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of Oakland.

He was indicted in September in Maryland along with 11 other men in connection with what prosecutors say was an international heroin trafficking conspiracy. He pleaded guilty in January to a single count of money laundering, admitting his money exchange business, or "hawala," moved $30,000 the government says was linked to drug sales.

On June 24, 2002, a man walked into Global Imports Sales in Fremont CA Little Kabul district to sell some jewelry. He was no ordinary customer. Unbeknownst to the proprietor, he was an undercover government informant, wired for sound and looking to bust an international heroin-smuggling ring. He carried $50,000 worth of jewelry -- proceeds from the smack trade.

The drugs had originated in Pakistan, been traded for jewelry by the ring's operatives in Thailand, and continued on for distribution in the United States, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. The informant's job was to unload the baubles for cash, then transfer the money back to the dope suppliers.

Qader Qudus ...The target of the sting -- which was headed jointly by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the US Attorney's Office -- was Qader Qudus ("coo-dis"), a 45-year-old businessman who'd immigrated to Fremont from his native Afghanistan more than twenty years ago.

ZSQ Exchange, which Qudus named by combining the initials of his wife and two young sons, is a hawala, or traditional Middle Eastern money exchange. Qudus is the East Bay's Afghan connection. Prior to his arrest, he ran a side business that was, for all practical purposes, the sole monetary lifeline between thousands of local Afghan and Pakistani residents and their friends and relatives back home.


Bill Warner
private investigator