$898,000 Seized from Bakersfield Drug Bust
JUN 26 -- (Fresno, CA) - United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña announced today the indictment of HARJEET MANN, 49, JASDEV SINGH, 32, and SUKHRAJ DHALIWAL, 38 , all of Bakersfield, California, for conspiring to purchase and then resell 70 kilograms, or about 154 pounds, of cocaine. Approximately $898,000 in cash was seized by DEA agents after MANN, SINGH, and DHALIWAL brought it to a drug deal to pay for the cocaine and is subject to forfeiture.
This case is the product of a joint investigation conducted by the Bakersfield DEA and Kern County Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the Bakersfield Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Southern Tri-County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar, who is prosecuting the case, during negotiations between MANN, SINGH and an undercover officer, MANN indicated that during the past five years he had shipped approximately 36,000 kilograms of cocaine from Bakersfield to Canada. In Canada, MANN’s customers “cut” the product for street sales. MANN claimed, “I’m the biggest there is.” He also offered to sell the undercover officer 50 kilogram buckets of ephedrine (a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine) for $33,000 a bucket and told the undercover officer he smuggled the ephedrine into the United States from his native country of India. DHALIWAL admitted that he was the money man who brought the cash for the cocaine deal.
“Profits provide the fuel for the operations of every drug trafficking organization, while partnerships in law enforcement provide the fuel in dismantling these criminal networks,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña. “The success of this investigation would not have been possible without the dedication of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. DEA will continue to work with our counterparts in taking away the profits generated by these organizations.”
United States Attorney Scott stated, “Complete cooperation among federal and local law enforcement partners made it possible to dismantle this international drug dealing organization. Today's indictment demonstrates our resolve to make our communities, both here and abroad, safer by reducing the availability of drugs and the lucrative profits which fund drug trafficking.”
Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine each carry a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years and a maximum of life, along with a maximum fine of $4 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
MANN, SINGH, and DHALIWAL will be arraigned in U.S. Magistrate Court on July 7 at 1:30 p.m.
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