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Afghan/American man pleads guilty

Suspect started acting strangely after his father died

Friday, October 12, 2012    

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THE Afghan/American businessman who was held at the Norman Manley International Airport last month with more than ¤ 300,000 is expected to get a lighter sentence after pleading guilty yesterday.

The man, Sohail Muhammad Siddiq, pleaded guilty to breaching the Customs and Proceeds of Crime Acts during a plead and case management hearing before Magistrate Georgianna Fraser in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

He was remanded into custody and is expected to be sentenced next Thursday.

During the hearing, attorney Ramona Nelson, who appeared with Peter Champagnie in the matter, was able to convince the Customs Department not to insist on the maximum penalty, which would have resulted in Siddiq paying three times the amount of money found in his possession.

The foreign national was arrested last month after ¤ 313,500 and US$700 were found in his possession, which he had failed to declare.

Siddiq, who arrived in the island on a flight from Panama, en route from Dubai, later told the court that he came to Jamaica to purchase cellphones.

Jamaican police had questioned him about possible connection with terrorist groups in Africa and the Middle East.

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