US court jails son of Guinea-Bissau’s ex-president 6 years for leading a global heroin trafficking ring


CONAKRY – The son of Guinea-Bissau’s ex-president has been sentenced to over six years in prison by a US court for leading an international heroin trafficking ring.

Malam Bacai Sanha Jr, 52, planned to use the proceeds to fund his ambitions to become Guinea-Bissau’s president through a coup, authorities say.

He was the son of Malam Bacai Sanha, who led the West African country from 2009 until his death in 2012, reported the BBC.

Sanha Jr had been linked to a failed coup in February 2022 and was extradited to the US in August 2022, following his arrest in Tanzania a few weeks earlier.

His trial began soon afterwards and in September last year, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally import drugs.

“Malam Bacai Sanha Jr wasn’t any ordinary international drug trafficker,” said FBI agent Douglas Williams on Tuesday.

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Sanha Jr is was accused of importing heroin from several countries to Portugal and also from Europe to the United States.

US authorities said he could be deported following his imprisonment as he was not an American citizen.

The 52-year-old, known as “Bacaizinho” in Guinea-Bissau, had held several roles in the government, including as his father’s economic adviser.

He reportedly revealed that he was “personally involved” in the foiled 2022 coup attempt to unseat President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, which left 11 people dead, most of them members of the security forces.

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