NEW YORK – The former naval chief of Guinea-Bissau was ordered detained in New York on Friday following his arrest on charges that he was part of an international cocaine trafficking plot, officials said.
A spokesman for the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office said Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto and two alleged coconspirators “were all detained” after their initial appearance in federal court. No pleas were entered.
The indictment against Na Tchuto — better known as Bubo in his West African homeland — and the two other defendants, Papis Djeme and Tchamy Yala, alleges they were middlemen in a huge drug smuggling operation originating in Latin America.
They “worked together to receive ton-quantities of cocaine, transported by vessel from South America to Guinea-Bissau, and then to store the cocaine in Guinea-Bissau before its shipment to other locations, including the U.S.,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors confirmed that Bubo was arrested following a sting operation in which he allegedly believed he was dealing with a cocaine broker and a cocaine supplier from South America.
State TV in Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa, reported earlier that Bubo was snatched while at sea in an operation by U.S. and Cape Verdian agents.