U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Gurmeet Bisla, 31, of Livingston to 16 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced Thursday.
A federal jury convicted Bisla two years ago of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, but sentencing was delayed after he claimed that he was not competent at trial.
Ishii imposed sentence after two doctors found that Bisla was malingering symptoms of diminished mental capacity. In addition, Judge Ishii ordered the forfeiture of $1,011,068 in seized U.S. currency.
According to evidence presented at trial, Bisla transported drug proceeds for an international cocaine-distribution ring led by Harjeet Mann, 53, of Bakersfield and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Mann and Sukhraj Dhaliwal, 43, of Bakersfield, were also found guilty of the drug conspiracy and cocaine trafficking. The defendants primarily used big rigs to transport the drugs.
Agents seized large amounts of money, including $169,910 seized from a truck in Sheldon, Ill., that was driven by Bisla. The case culminated with the seizure of nearly $845,000 in a reverse sting operation conducted by Bakersfield DEA and Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Mann was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison and Dhaliwal was sentenced to 10 years in prison.