October 11, 2017
Photo: Acting New Jersey US Attorney, William E. Fitzpatrick (centre) is seeking life imprisonment for Guyanese pilot Khamraj Lall who was recently charged with trafficking five kilograms of cocaine.
By Andrea Fernandes
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Caribbean News Now) – Khamraj Lall, Guyanese businessman and pilot who is entangled in a web of troubles that has placed him in an uphill battle with almost every major US law enforcement agency including the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now has a bigger issue to be worried about.
In court papers seen by the Guyana Guardian and confirmed by the New Jersey US Attorney’s office, it has been confirmed that US prosecutors are now pressing for Lall to be sentenced to life in prison on a battery of drug trafficking charges.
Lall had first come into the media spotlight after customs officials in the US territory of Puerto Rico had unearthed more than US$600,000 that was stashed away on his private jet when he had made a stop there to refuel his aircraft on his way to Guyana in November 2014.
After that incident, he was initially out on bail, but Federal agents moved in on him in July 2015, and arrested him on several new charges for which he was remanded in custody.
That arrest had come about as a result of a federal investigation that had also seen eight other people being arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering, in addition to Lall, who was accused of laundering more than US$7 million.
Ever since, he has been held in federal custody without bail, even after serving a one year sentence for crimes related to the cash that was stashed away on his jet.
He was also ordered to forfeit the jet, and money in his bank accounts.
But while serving that sentence, the US government was busy investigating and building several additional cases against him, which have since caused him to be kept in jail, even after the sentence has ended.
And while he was originally being held on money laundering charges, prosecutors have now charged him with a much more serious drug trafficking offence.
Acting US Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick has since confirmed that the Guyanese businessman was recently charged with trafficking five kilograms of cocaine on his private jet over a period of time via his private hangar at the Cheddie Jagan International Airport in Guyana to Florida in the United States.
It is for those charges that the US is seeking a minimum sentence of ten years, right up to the maximum of life in prison for Lall, for two different sets of charges.
The incident involving Lall has been attracting a great deal of interest in Guyana because of the fact that Lall had previously flown former President Donald Ramotar on presidential trips abroad on the same jet, and had also handled several other official flying assignments for the former government and several leading business figures.
The Guyanese businessman, who also has various investment interests there, had said on his Exec Jet website that he has been a pilot with more than 15 years experience as a freelance flight training instructor at Ringwood Airport.
However, authorities in the US have since said that the background claimed by Lall is fraudulent since such an airport does not even exist.
Additionally, there is no known record of Lall ever serving as a flight training instructor at any US airport.
Republished with permission of the Guyana Guardian