October 04, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Pilot convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering, and structuring
Flew hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Guyana to NY and NJ
TRENTON, NJ - A Passaic County, New Jersey, man has been convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering, structuring monetary instruments, and conspiracy to commit money laundering and structuring. Khamraj Lall, 51, of Ringwood, New Jersey, was convicted Oct. 4, 2018, on all eight counts of a superseding indictment following an eight-day trial before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and the evidence at trial:
From April 2011 through November 2014, Lall, a private pilot, smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Guyana to New Jersey and New York on his privately owned jet aircraft and then laundered the proceeds.
Lall, who owed a private jet charter business called Exec Jet Club in Gainesville, Florida, used the proceeds of his cocaine empire to purchase jet planes, houses, and cars. He also paid more than $2 million in cash stuffed in suitcases to a Florida contractor to build an airplane hangar in Guyana.
Over a 3 ½ year period, Lall also made (or had others make) 1,287 cash deposits totaling approximately $7.5 million into more than 20 different bank accounts in New Jersey and New York, much of it in $20 bills. In order to avoid detection and circumvent bank reporting laws, all 1,287 deposits were for amounts less than $10,000.
In November 2014, Lall was flying one of his jets from the United States to Guyana and stopped in Puerto Rico to refuel. An outbound search of the plane discovered $470,000 in cash stuffed into a suitcase hidden in the tail of the plane, and another $150,000 in cash hidden under a seat.
The conspiracy to distribute cocaine carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The counts for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money each carry a potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The counts of structuring and conspiracy to structure cash carry a potential penalty of 10 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rochester Resident Office; IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Morristown, New Jersey, Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Federal Aviation Administration, Law Enforcement Assistance Program; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations with the investigation leading to the conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan M. Peck and Thomas S. Kearney of the Criminal Division in Newark.