Nagpur Indian Businessman Jeetendra Harish Belani Sentenced for Drug Importation, Smuggling and Money Laundering
July 9, 2020 - Jeetendra Harish Belani (37), an Indian businessman and operator of drug distribution entity LeeHPL Ventures from Nagpur, MH, was sentenced July 7, 2020 on charges of drug importation, smuggling and money laundering offenses in Pittsburgh, PA federal court.
The Pittsburgh, PA federal court sentenced Jeetendra Harish Belani to time served followed by three years of supervised release.
Jeetendra Harish Belani has been detained for approximately 13 months in prison following his June 3, 2019 arrest in Czech Republic.
In addition to the time served and supervised release sentencing, the court also ordered Belani to forfeit $100,000 which was part of his December 9, 2019 guilty plea agreement.
Belani Guilty PleaJeetendra Harish Belani, a/k/a Jeetu pleaded guilty on December 9, 2019.
Belani's guilty plea includes:
- One count of conspiracy to import Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances
- One count of conspiracy to smuggle misbranded drugs
- One count of money laundering conspiracy
- Two additional counts of smuggling
- Two additional counts of drug importation
- One additional count of money laundering
....Belani admitted that he operated a drug-distribution entity based in India called LeeHPL Ventures. Belani also maintained an associated website—www.leehpl.com. Between 2015 and 2019, Belani admitted that he and his co-conspirators, through LeeHPL Ventures, imported into the United States various drugs available only by prescription, including tapentadol, a Schedule II controlled substance, as well as tramadol, carisoprodol, and modafinil, all Schedule IV controlled substances.Jeetendra Harish Belani will be deported/removed to India following his release from federal custody.
In addition, Belani admitted that between 2015 and mid-2017, he worked with two co-conspirators in the United States—William Kulakevich and Julia Fees—to unlawfully smuggle a drug known as etizolam into the United States so that Kulakevich and Fees could resell it via a website they operated—www.etizy.com. Etizolam is part of a class of drugs similar to benzodiazepines, which are often used to treat insomnia and anxiety and carry a potential for abuse and overdose. To evade detection by United States Customs and Border Protection officials, Belani admitted that he and his co-conspirators used false customs declarations that mischaracterized and undervalued the contents of packages sent to the United States by LeeHPL Ventures. In addition, Belani caused drug shipments to be broken into smaller quantities and shipped to multiple addresses to help ensure delivery and avoid interception by United States customs authorities.
Likewise, Belani admitted that he caused co-conspirators to initiate payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars from accounts in the United States to accounts he controlled in India or in other locations outside the United States, all as a means to promote his continued efforts to smuggle drugs into the United States.