Two years after a federal jury in Fresno convicted Gurmeet Bisla, 31, of Livingston, of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Bisla to 16 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Bisla's sentencing was delayed after he claimed that he was not competent at trial. After two medical doctors found that Bisla was malingering symptoms of diminished mental capacity, Ishii imposed sentence. In addition, 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 another co-conspirator, Sukhraj Dhaliwal, 43, of Bakersfield, were also found guilty of the drug conspiracy and cocaine trafficking. The defendants primarily used semi-tractor trailers to transport the drug. During the conspiracy, large money seizures were made, 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 Drug Enforcement Agency 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.

-- U.S. Department of Justice Eastern District of California