Attorney Accused of Witness-Tampering in Drug Case
SEPT 21--A Canadian attorney representing a member of an alleged British Columbia drug gang facing trial in U.S. District Court was charged in Seattle yesterday with tampering with a witness against his client.
Kuldip Singh Chaggar is accused of threatening and intimidating another alleged member of the gang into not testifying against his client.
Chaggar gained access to the woman who is awaiting trial at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac under the guise of being her lawyer, court records say.
When the 42-year-old lawyer visited her at the detention center Sept. 13, he signed in as an attorney and the woman was summoned to meet with him in one of the attorney-client meeting rooms.
Chaggar placed on the table in front of her the statement she made to federal agents in July after being arrested with other alleged gang members on charges of smuggling 112 pounds of cocaine into Canada, the records say.
Chaggar told her that his client and others in Canada "were not happy with her." But when she "expressed a reluctance to retract her statement, Chaggar ominously asked her, 'Where will you hide in Canada when you get out?' "
When the woman emerged from the meeting with Chaggar, a corrections officer noted that she "was visibly shaken, was crying, and exclaimed that someone had threatened to harm her family and her."
Three days later, federal agents got her to call Chaggar while they were listening in. When she told him she was willing to cooperate with his requests, Chaggar promised to meet with her, court records say.
He did, and again signed in as an attorney, according to records. After he left, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody.