A Guyanese businessman is being held in a Puerto Rican jail after he was found in possession of over US$600,000 in
cash that was stashed in an aircraft he was travelling in, heading to Guyana.
The bust was made last Saturday when the aircraft stopped on the Spanish-speaking Island to refuel.
The cash was unearthed when agents of the United States Customs and Border Protection carried out a routine search of the aircraft.
From all indications, the Guyanese businessman attempted to conceal the cash, since initially he had only declared a small amount to US Customs Agents.
According to Special Agent DaRika Davis, who is attached to Homeland Security Investigations of the United States Homeland Security and is assigned to the Investigations Branch of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Lall and two other individuals arrived at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport on a private aircraft bearing tail number N822QL.
Lall was the co-pilot, while the other two individuals were his father and the pilot of the aircraft.
When US Customs and Border Protection Agents who were at the airport approached the aircraft, the occupants informed them that they had only stopped to refuel and would be departing immediately for Georgetown, Guyana.
The officers however informed them that an outbound inspection of the aircraft was necessary.
Three agents, including Davis, were detailed to carry out the search.
Prior to performing the inspection, the agents explained the currency-reporting requirements to
Lall and the others on board the craft. Lall and his father declared US$5000, while the pilot declared US$60.
During the search, the agents unearthed some maintenance discrepancies and grounded the aircraft until the issues could be resolved.
The following morning, the issues were resolved, and Lall informed the US Customs Agents so that they could resume their outbound inspection of the aircraft. The agents again explained the currency-reporting requirements before they commenced the removal of items from the plane.
This time Lall declared US$7000, while his father declared US$5000. The pilot again declared US$60.
Employing the use of a sniffer dog, the US agents were alerted to the currency. After further inspection, a bundle of currency wrapped in plastic bags and a blanket was found under the exit row seat.
When approached, the Guyanese businessman, who reportedly owns the Kaylee Service Station at Coverden on the East Bank of Demerara, voluntarily stated that the money found belonged to him and that it was approximately US$150,000.
His explanation was that the money was proceeds from his business, and added that he had forgotten that he had the money in the plane and that was the reason why he did not declare it. The agents did not buy his explanation.
But when the agents continued their search, they stumbled upon a black suitcase inside a compartment next to the engines.
The suitcase was found to contain several black garbage bags containing bundles of currency totaling approximately US$470,000.
According to agent Davis, Lall also accepted responsibility and ownership of the other monies found. He informed the agents that his father and the aircraft’s pilot had nothing to do with the cash, and that all the money belonged to him.
Agent Davis in an affidavit that was filed in court stated that based on all the facts, probable cause exists to believe that Lall violated US Customs laws and was involved in bulk cash smuggling.
The Guyanese businessman and aircraft pilot, migrated to the United States of America 30 years ago. He obtained a bachelors degree in Technology and Engineering and later obtained his pilot license.
In 1992, Mr. Lall started his own business “K.L.X Logistics Inc” located at 13 Edward Hart Drive, Jersey City which offered trucking and warehouse services, and was operational from 1995 to 2010.
In 2007, he purchased a gas station now known as the Kaylee’s Service Station located at Coverden, East Bank Demerara, as part of his investment plans in Guyana and later expanded his venture when he introduced Quin’s Special Events & Services comprising two limousines.
He is expected to appear before a judge in Puerto Rico for a bail hearing soon.
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