Self-Styled Robin Hood Sentenced To 23 and ½ Years In Prison For International Drug Conspiracy
MAR 30 -- (Fresno, CA) — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams announced that Harjeet Mann, 51, a Canadian national and resident of Bakersfield, was sentenced on March 29, 2010, to 23 and a half years for drug trafficking charges. In addition, MANN was ordered to forfeit $1,011,067.70 in cash used to facilitate narcotic transactions.
This case was the product of an extensive Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Bakersfield DEA Resident Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Bakersfield Police Department. The Toronto North Drug Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Illinois State Police, Jasper County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department, Merced Police Department, and Livingston Police Department also assisted in the investigation.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Deanna Martinez, who prosecuted the case, Mann and co-defendants Sukhraj Dhaliwal, 40, and Jasdev Singh, 34, both of Bakersfield, negotiated with an undercover agent for the purchase of 70 kilograms of cocaine. Mann indicated that from 2003 to 2008 he had shipped approximately 36,000 kilograms of cocaine from Bakersfield to the Toronto area of Canada for distribution to Asian gang members there. Mann claimed, “I’m the biggest there is.” He also offered to sell the undercover agent 50 kilogram buckets of ephedrine (a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine) for $33,000 a bucket and told the undercover agent he smuggled the ephedrine into the United States from his native country of India.
On June 25, 2009, a jury found Mann guilty of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 202 kilograms, or 444 pounds, of cocaine and for attempting to possess with intent to distribute 70 kilograms of cocaine following delivery of approximately $843,000 in cash to an undercover narcotic agent in Bakersfield.
After hearing evidence presented at trial, Senior U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger found that Mann was the leader of an international narcotic trafficking organization that smuggled cocaine into the United States from Mexico and transported the drug in semi-tractor trailers to Canada, Detroit, Mich., and Buffalo, N.Y.
Co-defendant Dhaliwal was also found guilty at trial and was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison. Gurmeet Bisla, 29, of Livingston, California, a drug transporter for Mann, was involved in the shipment of $169,910 in cash for 10 kilograms of cocaine. Illinois State Police troopers found the cash in a semi-tractor trailer during a traffic stop in Sheldon, Ill. He was found guilty at trial is scheduled for sentencing on April 26, 2010.
Co-defendant Singh entered a guilty plea to the drug conspiracy before the start of trial and is scheduled for sentencing before Judge Wanger on April 26.
“This case dismantled a shipping business that acted like many other international businesses, except that its cargo was dangerous drugs and millions of dollars in currency,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We continue to work with the DEA and many other law enforcement partners continue to investigate all aspects of the international drug trade.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams stated, “This sentence marks the end for an international drug kingpin and his organization. This infamous drug trafficker will now be locked away for multiple decades to come. We are indebted to our international and local partners in law enforcement for their assistance in dismantling this organization and bringing them to justice.”
The case has received extensive coverage in the Asian and Canadian press, which reported that MANN and SINGH, natives of the Punjabi village of Gureh, and DHALIWAL, from the neighboring village of Chimna, are considered modern day Robin Hoods in their villages stemming from their drug-funded philanthropy. At sentencing, Judge Wanger said that MANN’s philanthropy was both “noble” and “ignoble,” noting that MANN used the wrong means to accomplish good deeds.
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