World and Nation

US indicts Guinea-Bissau’s military chief in drug case

DAKAR, Senegal — The head of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, Gen. Antonio Injai, has been indicted by federal prosecutors in New York on cocaine and weapons-trafficking charges, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said Thursday, part of an ambitious U.S. operation targeting some of the most powerful figures in a country long considered a major haven for drug smuggling.

According to the indictment, Injai told informants for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who were posing as rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that he was willing to store tons of cocaine and ship it to the United States. He is also accused of agreeing to buy weapons for the FARC, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

Two weeks ago, an ally of his, the former head of Bissau’s navy, was indicted on similar drug charges after being arrested in a sting off the coast of West Africa.

For years, Guinea-Bissau has been considered one of the world’s premier examples of a narco-state, one where the government hierarchy is deeply implicated in the drug trade. But the cases bring those long-standing assertions quite a step further, offering what prosecutors describe as clear evidence of official involvement in trafficking, and aiming to haul senior figures into court.

Unlike the former naval boss, who was lured into a fake meeting on the high seas to be arrested, Injai remains free in Bissau.