CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Mar. 18, 2009: A Guyanese-born self-confessed drug dealer could spend the next 15 years in jail after admitting to cocaine trafficking, weapons charges and witness tampering.
But it’s a far cry from the sentence Shaheed Roger Khan could have obtained had he gone to trial. Instead, in a major twist of events this week, Khan suddenly changed his plea from not-guilty to guilty and cut a deal with prosecutors.
The plea deal calls for Khan to serve 15 years in prison in exchange for resolving the drug trafficking charges, the witness tampering case, and a federal weapons charge dating from when Khan lived in Vermont in the 1990s.
And it does not involve any of the alleged slayings in Guyana. Khan, 37, faces deportation after completing his sentence.
The surprise plea deal comes as prosecutors were last week haggling with the defense last week over the depositions of witnesses for Khan; Elizabeth Persaud and Dion Coates. The defense team had been given a single day during the week of March 30, 2009 to conduct the depositions.
Persaud is reportedly the wife of Devindra Persaud, who, according to the prosecution was killed by Khan for cooperating with US law enforcement. Khan had been facing life in prison if convicted at a trial.
`I find the development interesting and am eagerly awaiting to see the disposition of the case before I comment further,` said Rickford Burke of the Caribbean Guyana Institute of Democracy, who spent years following the Khan saga. `But I also hope the prosecutors gleaned info on drug cartel in Guyana with a view to breaking it up and arresting those involved.` – By Felicia Persaud/CWNN NY