On December 13, Trinidad and Tobago national Kim Maharaj was extradited to the United States. He will begin serving his 12-year sentence for a 1998 gang assault in the State of New York on December 14. Marshals from the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents assigned to the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain escorted Maharaj from Port of Spain to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also played critical roles in the extradition.
The Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal dismissed Maharaj’s challenge to his extradition in November, ending five years of legal challenges. Maharaj was arrested in 2016 in Trinidad on a DUI charge when authorities discovered he was wanted in the United States. 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.
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. 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.
U.S. Ambassador Candace Bond said, “The U.S. Embassy recognizes 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.”