Abu Salem
Abu SalemReuters

US authorities on Tuesday issued sanctions on two Indian nationals linked to notorious criminal organization, D Company, in a bid to restrict drug trafficking and illegal financial operations carried out by them worldwide, the Agence France Press (AFP) said.

Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim "Tiger" Memon are now officially designated as "key drug traffickers," with the US Treasury office of Foreign Assets Control issuing on them a series of sanctions that include freezing of their assets under the US jurisdiction as well as a bar on any monetary or commercial dealings between US citizens and the two men, the news service said.

Shakeel, 57, and Memon, 52 are believed to be aides to Mumbai crime lord Dawood Ibrahim, founder and head of D Company. The organization was long alleged to be involved in organized crime and illegal activities concentrated mainly in South Asia and Middle East regions.

The Treasury said that the group's drug operations extend to United States, Western Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, with narcotics drugs like heroin and hashish mainly coming in from Thailand and Afghanistan.

"Treasury continues to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia with today's action against one of the world's most notorious criminal organizations," Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's office of foreign assets control said according to a report on Nasdaq.

Operations in South Asia are reportedly headed by Memon who until now is on India's wanted criminal list for alleged connections with Mumbai bombings that killed nearly 300 people in 1993, the AFP said.

Shakeel's role in the organization is not clearly defined but as Ibrahim's close associate, he has been involved in "other organized crime and terror groups," the Treasury said according to the news service. He was also said to have admitted his financial involvement in Bollywood films in 2001.

Indian authorities, including Interpol, are seeking charges for several other members of the organization.

Abu Salem, gangster and prominent associate of the group, is reportedly in custody and facing a series of criminal trials including for an extortion case, which the Delhi High Court recently permitted the police to drop the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) charges.