NOV 13 (FRESNO, Calif.) — Two years after a federal jury in Fresno convicted Gurmeet Bisla, 31, of Livingston, of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Bisla to 16 years in prison, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Bisla’s sentencing was delayed after he claimed that he was not competent at trial. After two medical doctors found that Bisla was malingering symptoms of diminished mental capacity, Judge Ishii imposed sentence. In addition, Judge Ishii ordered the forfeiture of $1,011,068 in seized U.S. currency.
According to evidence presented at trial, Bisla transported drug proceeds for an international cocaine-distribution ring led by Harjeet Mann, 53, of Bakersfield and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Mann and another co-conspirator, Sukhraj Dhaliwal, 43, of Bakersfield, were also found guilty of the drug conspiracy and cocaine trafficking. The defendants primarily used semi-tractor trailers to transport the drug. During the conspiracy, large money seizures were made, including $169,910 seized from a truck in Sheldon, Ill., that was driven by Bisla. The case culminated with the seizure of nearly $845,000 in a reverse sting operation conducted by Bakersfield DEA and Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Mann was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison and Dhaliwal was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
This case was the product of an extensive Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Bakersfield DEA Resident Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Kern County Sheriff’s Department, 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. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar and Deanna Martinez prosecuted the case.