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Tuesday, May 09, 2006
US court could issue arrest warrant for Khan this week

Roger Khan

The United States District Court for New York could issue an arrest warrant this week for businessman Roger Khan whom it has indicted on charges of conspiring to import drugs into that country, a source has said.

And following the arrest warrant, it is expected that officials from the US would make contact with the Government of Guyana in an effort to have Khan extradited.

The United States District Court Eastern District of New York unsealed a Grand Jury indictment on May 3, which charges that Khan conspired to import drugs into the US for the last five years, as recent as last March.

According to the US court documents, no arrest warrant had been issued there for Khan at the time the indictment was handed down. However, a wanted bulletin had been issued here for him several weeks ago in connection with the seizure of items following raids on places connected to him.

Stabroek News yesterday contacted Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh, who said he had not received any word from US officials. However, he pointed out that the officials would first contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which would then make contact with him. Efforts to speak to officials from that ministry proved futile.

According to the indictment, the Grand Jury charged that between January 2001 and March 2006 within the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, Shaheed Khan also called Roger Khan and 'Short Man' together with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to import a controlled substance into the US. The offence involved five kilogrammes or more of a substance containing cocaine, the document said.

According to the court documents Khan was charged in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 963 and 952 which makes it a crime to import a controlled substance into the US and Section 963 which makes it a crime to conspire to do the same. Under the US law, conspiring simply means to agree with at least one other person to do something that is illegal, such as importing cocaine. The report further stated that under US statutory law, Khan faces a minimum of ten years to a maximum of life in prison for the offence based on the amount of cocaine imported.

Khan was indicted on April 13 by a grand jury numbering 19 in a court in Brooklyn, New York.

Stabroek News attempted to contact the man's lawyer, Glen Hanoman but efforts were futile. Last Thursday night, when contacted by this newspaper, Hanoman had said that his client had heard of the indictment and had expressed surprise. He had said he would speak on the report the following day, but when Stabroek News contacted him again after receiving confirmation about Khan's indictment from local US officials, the lawyer declined to comment.

Khan has been on the run since a wanted bulletin was published for him following several raids on places connected to him and the seizure of a number of items. Currently, several lawyers are battling for him in the High Court.

Several weeks ago the local police had issued wanted bulletins for Khan, Gerald Pereira and former policemen, Paul Rodrigues and Ricardo Rodrigues. However, the four through their lawyers, Hanoman and Vic Puran, reacted to the bulletins published in the newspapers by sending a letter to the Commissioner of Police stating that they had no confidence in the police force he heads and that the police have no authority to issue wanted bulletins for anyone for questioning.

Demanding an apology, the three had also told the commissioner that if they had any evidence to charge them for any crime they could indicate this to their lawyers who would ensure that they attend court.

Crime Chief Henry Greene replied to the lawyers advising them that the police had the power to ask the men to go in for questioning and saying if they knew where their clients were they should turn them in or they could be held accountable.

The following day the lawyers moved to the High Court and secured an order nisi from Justice William Ramlall directing Commis-sioner Winston Felix to show cause why the bulletins should not be quashed.

That matter, along with several others resulting from searches by the joint services, is still pending before Justice Ramlall.