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Jamaat's Afghan heroin deals

US undercover agent:
Jamaat's Afghan heroin deals

Tuesday 24th May 2005

A FLORIDA jury heard yesterday that the Jamaat Al Muslimeen is involved in trafficking heroin from Afghanistan to Trinidad for shipment to the United States. That there is an indictment against its leader Yasin Abu Bakr in Fort Lauderdale for gun-running. That the Jamaat has a terrorist cell in South Florida, and that high-ranking member Lance Small was involved in buying high-powered weapons to take to Trinidad.

Small, 70, who was extradited to the US last November to face a three-count indictment, sat at the bar table next to his three-member legal team in Courtroom 205 at the US Federal Courthouse here in Fort Lauderdale.

The US government closed its case yesterday after the sixth witness gave evidence. Lead defence attorney Joseph Gibson renewed his plea that there was no case for Small to answer, but Judge William Dimitrouleas dismissed the application and called on Small to answer the charge.

Small chose to remain silent and called no witnesses. The prosecution and defence will address the 12-member jury and two alternates this morning. But the star of the day was undoubtedly undercover ATF agent Steve Mc Kean, the man who first arrested Trinidadian Keith Andre Glaude receiving 60 AK-47 rifles, ten MAC-10 machine guns and ten silencers on May 30, 2001, in Fort Lauderdale.

Mc Kean laid the indictment which saw Small being arrested in Trinidad and extradited eight months later to face the jury.

Mc Kean resumed his testimony from last Wednesday when the court took a short recess. He told the jury that he had spoken over the telephone to Small on April 16, 2001. That conversation was taped and played for the jury.

Over the next two days, Mc Kean said he heard from Glaude who identified himself as Mr Mourning. "I had never seen him before, I never talked to him before. Mr Mourning left messages on my pager that he was in town. He did not call back."

Mc Kean said a month passed before he heard again from Glaude. He again said he was in town, but this time Mc Kean was out of the county. Finally, Mc Kean and Glaude met on May 29, 2001, at Hooters Restaurant in North Fort Lauderdale.

Also present was ATF agent Vincent Curry. All this time, Glaude was unaware that he was meeting with ATF agents. Glaude, according to Mc Kean, said he was there to pick up the materials for Small. He was there to pick up the AK-47s, the silencers and the Mac-10 weapons.

"I needed the assurance that the weapons would leave the country," Mc Kean told the court. "He said he had to place the weapons in furniture for shipment. I told him that I fired the guns and they were all okay. We agreed for the following day, May 30, that he would collect the weapons.

"Glaude called me that evening and said he observed a gun on the leg of my partner. He said he did not want to become involved with the law and the police. On the 30th of May, around midday, I agreed to meet with Glaude at Lester's Diner.

"We met and Glaude was driving a green Dodge van. He followed me to an undercover business in downtown Fort Lauderdale. There, the guns were shown to Glaude in duffel bags. Unknown to him, that meeting was video-taped."

The video was played and the jury saw the transfer of the guns from Mc Kean to Glaude. The video showed Glaude giving his nod of approval of the various weapons that were shown. There were 12 bags with the big guns and a small bag with the smaller weapons.

Glaude then called Small in Trinidad and said "the posters were in the big bags and the fliers in the small bag." As Mc Kean was assisting Glaude to place the bags in the van, Glaude was arrested.

Not all of the guns were tendered in court yesterday. Just five of the AK-47 weapons, one Mac-10, and one silencer were shown to the jury.

Under cross-examination by Small's attorney Gibson, Mc Kean said he knew a man called Salim. That man, according to the witness was also known as Linden Lamada.

GIBSON: What about Salim Rasheed?

MC KEAN: I don't know.

GIBSON: Do you know anything about Trinidad?

MC KEAN: I learnt some things. I know there is a murder case in Trinidad involving Salim. I know Mr Abu Bakr is the suspect in a case regarding some shooting. I learnt that three or four days ago. I know that out of the 134 guns seized after the 1990 coup, 108 were purchased right here in south Florida.

GIBSON: Where did you get that information?

MC KEAN: I got that information and other information from Neville Reid. Mr Reid told me that the Jamaat has a cell here in south Florida.

GIBSON: What else do you know about the 1990 coup?

MC KEAN: I was assigned to a surveillance team to a warehouse in 1991. The first time I heard about the Jamaat Al Muslimeen was in February 2000 when I spoke to Mr Reid.

GIBSON: Have you ever been to Trinidad?


GIBSON: Have you ever studied the history of Trinidad and Tobago? Do you know who was the last Prime Minister? Do you know who is the present Prime Minister?

MC KEAN: No. I know about the Jamaat Al Muslimeen from my intelligence sources in the FBI, ATF. I built a relationship with the prosecutor's office in Trinidad and the Consulate Office in Miami. I know the Prime Minister was kidnapped in 1990 and 27 persons were killed.

GIBSON: Did you know what six legislators were killed in that coup?

MC KEAN: I can't answer that. I received intelligence reports that the United States Government was co-operating with the Trinidad Government to trace the weapons used in the 1990 coup.

TRIAL continues

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