Son Of Former Guinea-Bissau President Jailed In US For Drug Trafficking

The son of a former Guinea-Bissau president was sentenced to more than six and a half years in jail for his role in a multinational heroin trafficking conspiracy, the US Justice Department stated Tuesday.

Malam Bacai Sanha Jr, 52, intended to use the money to fund a revolution in the West African country that would lead to his ultimate leadership and the construction of a “drugs regime,” according to a statement released by the US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.

“Malam Bacai Sanha Jr. wasn’t any ordinary international drug trafficker,” stated Douglas Williams, special agent in charge of the FBI Houston Field Office. “He is the son of the former president of Guinea-Bissau and was trafficking drugs for a very specific reason — to fund a coup.”

According to the statement, Sanha was a leader and organizer in the heroin trafficking scheme, as well as participating in the importation of the drug from Europe to the US.

He was apprehended with a co-conspirator after arriving in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in July 2022. They were extradited to the United States shortly afterward.

Sanha pleaded guilty “to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance for unlawful importation” in September 2023, according to a statement released Tuesday.

He was sentenced to eighty months in prison.

Guinea-Bissau has a history of military coups mixed with periods of democratic leadership, with elected leaders serving full terms since the country obtained independence from Portugal in 1974.

A junta installed Sanha’s father, Malam Bacai Sanha, as interim leader in 1999, but he lost the election the following year.

He was elected president in 2009, but died in January 2012 while seeking medical care in Paris, before serving his full term.

His son, known as “Bacaizinho” in Guinea-Bissau, has held many government positions, including economic counselor to his father.

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