Jeetendra Harish Belani, an US businessman from Nagpur, India pleaded guilty to all the charges with importing banned drugs along with money laundering conspiracy, as reported by the officials from US.
The 37-year old businessman was extradited to the United States following his arrest in Czech Republic that happened on June 03, 2019 and is now going to face the charges for all the charges at him.
In the reports of the judgement for the case, it was mentioned that the Belani might be charged with a minimum of 20 years of imprisonment along with a fine charge of $1,000,000 specifically for the illegal smuggling of the banned drugs into the country.
But, in all seriousness, the intensity of the charges and the final sentence will depend on the intensity of the offenses that have been conducted by him. The prior criminal history of the accused is also going to be assessed following which the decision and the sentence is going to be declared. The same was clarified in a statement issued by the U.S Department of Justice.
During his plea, Belani himself admitted to have been behind the illegal drug distribution act which has been based predominantly in India with a company under the LeeHPL Ventures.
In between the four years of 2015 to 2019, Belani and some of his co-conspirers, with the aid of their company, imported some of prescription drugs like “tapentadol, a Schedule II controlled substance, as well as tramadol, carisoprodol, and modafinil, all Schedule IV controlled substances” into the United States.
In addition to those claims, Belani also further admitted that he had been working alongside two other co-conspirers in the United States, William Kulakevich and Julia Fees. The racket were mainly responsible for illegally smuggling a drug named etizolam into US following which both Kulakevich and Fees were planning on reselling them via their website.
Etizolam belongs to the class of benzodiazapenes which are mainly used to treat the conditions associated with anxiety and insomnia. They also do impose the risks of overdose, which is one of the reasons why this drug is banned in the US.
In order to bluff the US Customs and Border Protection officials, both Belani along with the other co-conspirers made use of false custom declarations which undervalued and dodged stating the contents of the packages that were sent to the US via LeeHPL ventures.
Alongside that, in order to further prevent the risks associated with the drug shipments, Belani also ensured to cut them out into smaller shipments and shipped them out to multiple addresses that ensured to minimize the risks of getting caught to a bare minimum.
Belani also clarified stating that he would ask the other co-conspirers sitting in the US to make the payments in amounts of thousands of dollars from the US to an account in India that he handled. The same was also done with the other accounts present outside of India, thus further propelling this issue.
By Somapika Dutta