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Roger Khan

In a dramatic turn of events, Suriname police yesterday afternoon arrested fugitive businessman, Shaheed 'Roger' Khan and three ex-policemen, one of whom is wanted by local authorities, as part of a huge drug bust that netted more than 200 kilos of cocaine.

Khan's lawyer, Glenn Hanoman confirmed to Stabroek News last night that the businessman along with, ex-policemen, Paul Rodrigues and Sean Belfield had been held. Stabroek News understands, too, that another man who identified himself as Lloyd was also arrested in the house raid.

According to reports, Suriname police held Khan, Rodrigues, Belfield and another Guyanese who is said to be an ex-policeman in a house with a semi-automatic weapon. Hanoman said in addition to that report he also heard too that the men were held in a drug bust but he could not confirm this himself. Hanoman was not prepared to make any other statement on the arrest of the men.

Local police had issued wanted bulletins for Khan, Rodrigues, Ricardo Rodrigues and Gerald Perreira after raids on their properties had unearthed illegal items.

The men through their lawyers had challenged the bulletins and this is now a subject of court proceedings. A US Grand Jury sitting in Brooklyn, New York recently indicted Khan on the charge of conspiring to import cocaine into the US.

Ever since the bulletins were issued, Khan and the others went into hiding and there was speculation that he had fled to Suriname or Venezuela. He has also been making numerous statements through his lawyers since then claiming that he helped fight crime during the escapee-led crime wave in 2002-3 and was also capable of preventing a coup against the government. These statements appeared to be intended to whip up public support and to stave off any attempt to hand him over to the US authorities. Many also believe that he is behind the releasing of taped conversations allegedly between Commissioner of Police, Winston Felix and other persons. He has also been taking on the joint services, the main opposition, the PNCR and the US government.

Stabroek News was told that the fourth man who gave his name as Lloyd had no travel documents and also identified himself to Surinamese police as Persaud, a spokesperson for the Suriname Police Corps, John Jones told Stabroek News last night from Paramaribo. Jones said that the bust was made in the afternoon and as a result investigators were unable to find out more about the man. He said that by today the suspects would be fully identified.

The de Ware Tijd (DWT) newspaper of Suriname last night also confirmed to Stabroek News that seven persons, including the Guyanese, were arrested and 213 kilos of cocaine were found after police raided two houses in central Paramaribo. DWT said that the raids were conducted after a long period of surveillance. The houses are located in a residential area. The first raid was carried out at 10:30 am, and 109 kilos of cocaine were recovered. Two hours later, police raided another location not too far away and 104 kilos were recovered.

Khan and several other men connected to him have been on the run since the joint service stepped up searches for the missing AK-47 rifles stolen from the Guyana Defence Force storage bond late in February. It was suspected that some of the men had fled to neighbouring Suriname in an effort to avoid being captured.

The US although issuing an arrest warrant for Khan has not made any request for extradition for him to face trial in the US. It is expected that once he is processed in Suriname and extradited to Guyana the US would want to have him turned over to them.

Rodrigues and Belfield, both ex-policemen, have been controversial figures ever since they were dismissed from the force. Belfield back in 2002 was apprehended along with Khan and Haroon Yahya at Good Hope with a cache of high-powered arms and ammunition. They were taken to court, but the matter was dismissed. Rodrigues was also arrested following an arms find and his case was also dismissed in the magistrate's court.

Up to late last night local law enforcers were still to be officially advised of the arrest of the Guyanese quartet.

Stabroek News
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