U.S. targets South Asian drug gang

WASHINGTON Tue May 15, 2012 3:44pm EDT

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WASHINGTON May 15 (Reuters) - The United States targeted on Tuesday two lieutenants in a South Asian drug gang, freezing their U.S. assets and barring Americans from doing business with them.

The U.S. Treasury designated Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim "Tiger" Mermon as senior figures in a criminal organization run by Dawood Ibrahim, known as "D Company."

Treasury said the D Company gang smuggles heroin and hashish from Afghanistan and Thailand to the United States, among other countries.

The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,000 individuals and entities under the Kingpin Act since June 2000 as part of an effort to apply financial pressure against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations.

"Tiger" Mermon is also wanted by Indian authorities for his role in the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Thirteen explosions ripped through India's financial capital on a single day in 1993, killing 257 people. Police in India say the bomb attacks were ordered by crime boss Ibrahim, a Muslim, who wanted to avenge the razing of a 16th century mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992. The United States considers Ibrahim to be a terrorist.

(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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