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Roger Khan wants early release from US prison based on “good-conduct credit”

Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan

Convicted Guyanese drug lord, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan wants to be released earlier than July on the grounds that he racked up good credits under a recent Trump-approved law, but the Federal Correctional Institution on Tuesday asked the court to reject his petition, according to court documents filed in a Florida Court.

Khan is banking his chances on US President Donald Trump’s signing into law the First Step Act on December 21, 2018 that, according to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in a note to inmates, will allow in the future the application of 54 days credit for every year of a sentence that was imposed.

In response to an order by Magistrate Judge Lisette Reid of the United States Southern District of Florida for the Miami Federal Correctional Institution in Florida to show cause why Khan’s petition to be entitled to additional “good time credits” should not be granted, the correctional facility said Khan’s argument was flawed because the Attorney General first has to complete and release the risk needs assessment before the law takes effect.

The completion and release of that assessment, according to the Corrections Warden Bryan Dobbs, will be done 210 days—July 25, 2019—after Trump signed the Act into law. “Accordingly, there is no basis and no authority, to award Petitioner the relief he seeks – a recalculation of his good-conduct credits,” said Dobbs for the Federal Correctional Institution.

If Khan had gotten his way earlier in the court, he would have been out by late March, 2019, a benefit then of approximately three months. “Yet since the BOP is not projected to apply the fix until after Khan is released, he will not receive the benefit this legislative enactment was targeted.”

Khan, who is slated for release on July 8, told the court that exhaustion of the BOP administrative remedies is a four-step process that takes approximately 130 days. He adds that he is slated to be released from custody (as things now stand) in less than 120 days.

“Therefore, utilizing the administrative remedies especially when the BOP has already made its position known would only be an exercise in futility as his sentence would elapse before he could make a meaningful claim,” the Court was told.

In a footnote in his petition, Khan argues that “Once petitioner’s sentence is completed, he will be deported so it makes economical sense for Khan to be granted the full extent of his good-conduct credits. The faster he is returned back to his country, the less the P.S. tax-payers will be burdened by the cost of having to unnecessarily continue paying for him.”

Khan fled Guyana illegally and was captured on June 15, 2006 in Suriname and flown directly to Trinidad from where he was collected by US law enforcement agents and flown to New York and immediately arraigned on drug trafficking charges. He was convicted and jailed in 2009 after a plea bargain that many believe provide key details about the roles of certain persons.

Khan, widely believed to be a major player in the then much feared Phantom Gang death squad that had hunted heavily armed gang members, had stated in several sections of the media before he had been captured in neighbouring Suriname that he had prevented the Jagdeo administration from being toppled by a coup.