Trinidadian fugitive extradited to the United States ending five years of legal challenges
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – A Trinidad and Tobago national has been extradited to the United States (US) where he will begin serving a 12-year sentence, on Thursday, for a 1998 gang assault in the State of New York.
Kim Maharaj was arrested in 2016 in Trinidad on a driving under the influence (DUI) charge when authorities discovered he was wanted in the US. In June 2018, the Trinidad and Tobago Office of the Attorney General began extradition proceedings against Maharaj, who was initially committed to be extradited in October 2018.
In a statement, the US embassy in Trinidad and Tobago said marshals from the United States Marshals Service and Diplomatic Security Service agents assigned to the Regional Security Office at the US Embassy in Port of Spain escorted Maharaj from Port of Spain to the United States on Wednesday.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also played critical roles in the extradition.
Last month, the Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal dismissed Maharaj’s challenge to his extradition, ending five years of legal challenges.
Maharaj was tried and convicted on September 28, 2000, at the Supreme Court in Queens, New York for assaulting a store owner by punching him in the face while two other people held the victim down on September 7, 1998.
Maharaj was sentenced on January 12, 2001, when he did not appear in court for the conviction or sentencing. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest in New York.
Maharaj was sentenced to 12 years in prison with five years of mandatory post-release supervision for second-degree assault, and seven years for second-degree gang assault. The sentences were to run concurrently.
US Ambassador Candace Bond said, “The US Embassy recognises the valuable assistance of the Central Authority of the Office of the Attorney General; Trinidad and Tobago Customs and Immigration; TT Airports Authority; and Interpol, the Special Investigations, and Traffic Index Units of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for their roles in ensuring due process of the law.
“This latest extradition underscores the effectiveness and excellent results of the ongoing diplomatic and law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago,” Bond added.