13 Members of Two Cocaine Trafficking and Money Laundering Organizations Face Federal Charges
APR 6 - ANTHONY P. PLACIDO, Special-Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York, today announced the filing of federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges against 13 defendants, who are alleged to be members and associates of a cocaine trafficking ring and money laundering organization, both of which operate primarily out of Georgetown, Guyana, and the New York metropolitan area.
Special-Agent-in-Charge ANTHONY P. PLACIDO stated, “Sophisticated intelligence gathering, facilitated by mutual drug enforcement efforts, resulted in the swift destruction of these narcotic trafficking and money laundering organizations. The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue in its mission to target, disrupt and incarcerate drug traffickers, identify their illicitly derived assets and destroy the economic base of their organizations.
Eleven of the defendants were arrested this morning in the New York metropolitan area; one defendant was arrested in Orlando, Florida; and the final defendant was already in custody on unrelated charges.
According to the complaints, 11 defendants were members of a large importation ring that smuggled cocaine into the United States from Guyana. Specifically, DELVEN ADAMS, INTAZ ALI, SHAFEEK ALI, ZAMAN ASHRAF, JEROME BROWN, BRETNOL RAUL HOOPER, POORAN KHUBLALL, and OKOBO VIEIRA distributed cocaine for the ring, primarily in Brooklyn and Queens, New York; DORIAN CALDEIRA and DINO SATTAUR participated in the drug importation and wired drug proceeds from Queens, New York, to Guyana; and AZAAM KHAN conspired to purchase cocaine in Queens, New York, from the ring.
Between June 2002 and June 2003, these defendants were responsible for distributing and/or importing into the United States approximately 70 kilograms of cocaine. The remaining two defendants, members of a separate ring, are charged with laundering narcotics proceeds, including drug proceeds for the cocaine smuggling ring described above, primarily out of a residence located in Floral Park, New York.
According to the complaint, SABRINA BUDHRAM and ARNOLD BUDHRAM laundered approximately $10 million in drug proceeds since 1986 by disguising the funds as money belonging to a front company, Sabena Manufacturing and Sales, an inactive textile trading company. Once the narcotics proceeds were “washed” through the company, the BUDHRAMs arranged to transport the money to Guyana, typically in luggage carried by associates of the BUDHRAMs.
Today’s arrests are part of an 18-month investigation into Guyanese cocaine trafficking and money laundering networks by ICE, with the assistance of the DEA, that has been conducted under the auspices of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. To date, federal agents have seized more than 380 kilograms of cocaine arriving on board international flights into John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami International Airport, overwhelmingly from Guyana, in approximately 50 separate seizures.
If convicted of the narcotics charges, ADAMS, INTAZ ALI, ASHRAF, BROWN, HOOPER and VIEIRA each face a mandatory term of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $4,000,000; KHAN, KHUBLALL and SHAFEEK ALI each face a mandatory term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum sentence of forty years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $2,000,000; and CALDEIRA and SATTAUR each face a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years and a $1,000,000 fine. If convicted of the money laundering charges, SABRINA BUDHRAM and ARNOLD BUDHRAM each face a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years and a fine equal to twice the amount of the funds involved in the money laundering.
The government’s cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Ramos, Taryn A. Merkl and Max Minzner, Eastern District of New York.