By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The government may soon move to seize the local assets of Guyanese pilot Khamraj Lall, who was caught with more than US$600,000 aboard his private jet while on a technical stop in Puerto Rico in November 2014.
He was also recently charged with cocaine trafficking in the United States. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told reporters shortly after a post cabinet media briefing on Friday, September 04 that the administration has the authority to secure the assets which includes a Limousine Service and a Gas Station, under the Customs Anti-Narcotics Legislation, which provides for asset forfeiture in cases where persons have been charged or have been convicted for money laundering and drug trafficking.
“So I can say to you that these are assets that are here in Guyana and it is in the interest of the State to ensure that those assets are secured in the event that we have to take further action. The gentleman has been charged in so far as the Money Laundering matter is concerned and I think he is now before the court as an accessory in the smuggling of drugs,” Harmon explained.
Lall is charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and importation of cocaine into the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who is handling the case, said that according to the indictment, between December 2013 and February 10, 2015, the defendant conspired to bring more than five kilograms of cocaine from Guyana into the United States.
Lall is a pilot and is accused of transporting the cocaine on his flights from Guyana to the United States. He was arrested on July 22, 2015 and made an initial appearance in federal court in the District of New Jersey.
According to the US Attorney’s office, Lall’s arrest is connected to the arrest of nine other defendants in February 2015. Edward Mighty, Seymour Brown, Andre Taylor, Ricardo Bailey, Robert Wilson, Kenneth Harper, Desmond Bice, and Christopher, all of Rochester, NY, were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base, use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking distribute marijuana.
Defendants Mighty, Brown, Taylor, Wilson, Harper, Bice, and Samuels were also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. In addition, Winifredo Gonzales, of Brooklyn, NY, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to the complaint, Edward Mighty is one of the leaders of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization and would obtain kilogram quantities of cocaine from Winifredo Gonzales.
The cocaine was transported to Rochester and processed, re-packaged, and distributed in various quantities of both powder and crack cocaine through multiple sellers in the Rochester area.