LEADER OF INTERNATIONAL COCAINE TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION INDICTED | USAO-EDMI

A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging former Michigan resident Ylli Didani, 43, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin.

Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Division,  Christopher Perry, Director of Fields Operation, US Customs and Border Protection, Acting Special Agent in Charge Kelly Lewis, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and Chief Jeff King, Farmington Hills Police Department.

Acting US Attorney Mohsin stated, “This is a very significant and important prosecution of a large scale, well-organized drug trafficking organization involved in the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine worth tens of millions of dollars, across multiple continents.  I salute the entire law enforcement team who labored so tirelessly on this case, from prosecutors to police officers, federal agencies to local police departments.  Their efforts culminated in today’s indictment and demonstrate cooperation and teamwork at its best.”

Special Agent Martin stated, “This indictment of a major cocaine trafficker is the result of a joint investigation with law enforcement partners from around the globe.  Our combined efforts should send a clear message to drug traffickers everywhere that you will be held accountable for your crimes.”

Director Perry stated, “The complexity of this case, which involved so many law enforcement partners throughout the region is a testament to the importance of cooperation among agencies.  I’m proud of efforts of our CBP personnel, along with our federal, state, and local partners who played an important role in reaching this indictment.”

“Today’s indictment is a result of the hard work and dedication of our local and federal law enforcement partners.  IRS-CI will continue to provide our financial expertise to disrupt and dismantle international drug trafficking organizations,” said Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Kelly Lewis.

Chief King stated, “This is an excellent example of the inter-agency cooperation and capabilities of our investigative taskforce. The Farmington Hills Police Department is extremely proud of our investigator and his tireless commitment toward disrupting and indicting a large scale-international drug trafficking organization.”

As alleged in the indictment, Didani and other unindicted co-conspirators planned and financed the distribution of cocaine from several locations including the Eastern District of Michigan. According to the Indictment, in two transactions that occurred in June 2016 and December 2017, Didani received at least $550,000 from other co-conspirators for the purpose of purchasing bulk cocaine.  Allegedly, Didani and other co-conspirators used several means of transportation, including private aircraft and commercial containerships, for purposes of obtaining and distributing the cocaine throughout Europe.

According to a criminal complaint that was unsealed on April 1, 2021, following Didani’s arrest on March 31, 2021 in Charlotte North Carolina, it is alleged that Didani was the leader of an international drug trafficking organization with ties to the United States, Mexico, South America, and Europe. The complaint also alleges that in 2017, a co-conspirator in Didani’s organization was overseeing the design of an underwater drone that would be utilized to transport large quantities of cocaine to Europe. The drone, which was going to be equipped with an underwater modem and GPS antenna, would transport the cocaine while attached to the bottom of a commercial containership. The drone would then be remotely released from the containership off the shore of Europe. The drone and cocaine would then be picked up by a fishing boat controlled by Didani’s organization.  

The criminal complaint further alleges that Didani arranged the distribution of several shipments of cocaine from South America to Europe, where the cocaine was seized by law enforcement. In 2019 and 2020, Law enforcement seized over 3400 kilograms of cocaine from Didani’s organization. The seized cocaine has a street value of over $100,000,000.00.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the DEA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 6 consisting of both DEA Special Agents and Task Force Officers from Farmington Hills PD, Sterling Heights PD, Troy PD, Novi PD, Dearborn Heights PD, and Northfield Township PD. IRS-CI, and US Customs and Border Protection. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Bilkovic, Timothy McDonald and Michael El-Zein.

 

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