Friday, October 16, 2009

Roger Khan to be sentenced today

Guyana Chronicle top story. Friday 16 October 2009.
Roger Khan to be sentenced today
By Wendella Davidson in New York

Self-confessed Guyanese drug-trafficker Shaheed Roger Khan, popularly known in Guyana as Short Man, will know his fate sometime after 2pm today in the Brooklyn Federal Court.

Khan, who has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and witness tampering charges, in addition to a gun charge, will be sentenced by Judge Dora Irizarry.

The Guyanese drug kingpin had in March this year entered into a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution.

The agreement stipulates a sentence of 15 years imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a US$300 special assessment, as well as any fine and restitution to be imposed in keeping with the law. Campbell also requests that the court impose a fine as it sees appropriate, but not greater than US$4,000,000.

This sentence, however, is left to the discretion of the judge who, it was reported, has said the decision as to how much time he should be given is solely hers.

The sentencing of Roger Khan today is the talk among Guyanese here in New York, many of whom feel that a 15-year sentence will be a slap in the face of the Guyanese at home.

Some US-based Guyanese, with whom the Chronicle has spoken, are of the view that the fact it was reported that the Judge had slipped into the courtroom and heard some chilling evidence during the trial of the former attorney of Khan, Robert Simmels, who has since being found guilty, does not augur well for Khan.

The US government has described Khan as the leader of a cocaine trafficking organisation based in Guyana, and charged him with being responsible for the distribution of huge amounts of the illicit drug in Eastern New York.

Khan, however, has denied these claims, saying he is a businessman who played an integral role in helping the Guyana Government to fight crime when the crime wave was at its peak.

Khan was a fugitive from justice in the U.S., having jumped bail from weapons charges in Vermont in 1993, and fled to his home in Guyana. His woes there began when the local Police posted a wanted bulletin for him.

He fled to neighbouring Suriname where he and some of his bodyguards were nabbed. Khan was held in jail in that country for 120 days without bail, after he was deported.

The authorities there placed him on a plane heading to Trinidad, where U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent with the help of Trinidad officials, held him.
He was subsequently extradited to the U.S. and has been in jail here since.

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