A judge has ordered he pay back £353,800 – or spend an extra 30months in jail
A Gloucester taxi driver serving a long jail term for dealing in cocaine must hand over more than a quarter of a million pounds of his ill gotten gains – or spend an extra two and a half years in prison, a judge ruled today.
At Gloucester crown court Judge Michael Cullum ruled 39-year-old Trishul Rambaran’s criminal benefit from drug dealing was £353,800.
The judge declared Rambaran, of Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, has total assets of £260,762-22 which can be confiscated from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He ordered that the money is paid within six months or Rambaran will have to serve a further 30 months imprisonment in default.
Rambaran, who received a total sentence of 6yrs 4 months last December after he admitted four offences of drug supply and two of money laundering, argued against the confiscation order and maintained it should not be so high.
He told the court he was a ‘respectable man’ and ‘not a bad man.’
And he asked for more time to get legal advice and prepare his argument against the order.
But the judge said he had already had more than enough time and had failed throughout the procedure to comply with court directions.
“There has been a continued lack of obedience to any court order and there has been nothing supplied by the defendant,” said the judge.
Throughout the confiscation hearing yesterday and today the judge had to tell Rambaran repeatedly not to keep interrupting the proceedings.
At one point yesterday, when Rambaran appeared via video link from prison, the judge silenced his microphone so he could not be heard.
Today Rambaran was in court in person and at one point the judge warned him he would send him down to the cells if he did not stop intervening.
The prosecution suggested Rambaran’s criminal benefit was £499,000 but the judge reduced that figure to £353,800.
Prosecutor Edward Hetherington said the assets comprised Rambaran’s house, a share of his late mother’s estate, a VW vehicle and small amounts of money in four bank accounts.
At last year’s sentencing hearing the court was told that Rambaran, who ran a website selling ‘legal highs’ was also selling cocaine which he mixed in with other drugs.
He pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing drugs with intent to supply on 17th March last year and two of money laundering between April 2010 and April 2016.
One of the money laundering charges concerned him using criminally obtained cash to buy his house in Tuffley Lane. The other stated that he had acquired more than £200,000 knowing it was criminal property.
Prosecutor Ed Hetherington said police uncovered Rambaran’s activities when officers on patrol on 17th March saw him driving a VW in Tuffley Avenue and followed him to the Tesco store in Bristol road.
There, he was seen to walk over to a Vauxhall Astra and then back to his car. He was stopped and searched and told the officers he sold legal highs.
Some white powder found in his car was later analysed and found to contain Class B and C illegal drugs.
A search was then carried out at his home and 717 grams of cocaine at 5percent purity and another 57g at just 1 percent was found.