Amandeep Singh Dhami of California wanted by FBI in 2008 murder arrested in Punjab

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Amandeep Dhami
 
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Gurpreet Gosal
 
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Balbir Dhami
 
AMANDEEP Singh Dhami, 28, wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a federal unlawful flight to avoid prosecution charge, was arrested in India last week on Friday evening. Dhami was arrested in Jalandhar, Punjab, on local charges by Indian authorities and will be returned to the United States to face homicide charges related to the August 31, 2008 shooting of Parmjit Pamma Singh at a later, undetermined date, according to an FBI press release.

More than five years ago, gunfire erupted at the Gurmukh Singh Johal Memorial Tournament, a sports festival held at the Sacramento Sikh Society Sports Complex in Sacramento, terrifying the shocked crowd. Dhami successfully fled the festival grounds, but a second shooter, Gurpreet Singh Gosal, 28, was captured and held by festival spectators until Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived. On August 9, 2013, Gosal was sentenced in Sacramento County Superior Court to 35 years to life in prison for second-degree murder and firing a weapon in the course of a murder for his role in the shooting.

Dhami’s federal fugitive poster has appeared on the Sacramento FBI’s website since 2008, when it was first distributed. The poster was recently translated into Punjabi and redistributed internationally. Over the years, various sources speculated that Dhami may have fled to Canada, but the FBI recently followed up on leads that revealed that he was residing in India under an assumed name.

“We are thankful for our continued partnership with local and international law enforcement partners. A team of local and international FBI resources worked closely with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department to pursue Dhami,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office. “We all hope that Dhami’s eventual return for prosecution may offer some closure and peace for the Singh family, the Sacramento Sikh Society, and the festival attendees who were so traumatized by the shooting.”

 

AS the FBI press release stated, many people had speculated that Dhami may have fled to Canada. In November 2008, I received an email from Preet Singh appealing to me to highlight the case of his murdered cousin Parmjit Pamma Singh.

Preet wrote to me: “My cousin was married and has two very young kids. Those kids will never see their father … only memories and pictures. His wife is a widow. (There is) no reason this should have happened. (The accused killer) Amandeep Dhami is still on the loose. … With your help we can try to find Amandeep and get justice for my cousin and his two kids and wife. He can be anywhere: USA, Canada, England, India. People know people know people everywhere. … Please help our family get some peace by finding Mr. Dhami.”

 

INDIAN media reports said Dhami had been staying in Jalandhar, Punjab, for the past four years under a fake name – Jujhar Singh.

“We have arrested Amandeep Dhami in a cheating case for living under a false name as he is wanted by Interpol,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Crime) Bhupinder Singh told the media in Patiala, Punjab.

When asked about his deportation to the U.S., he said: “There is a laid-down process for his handing over to Interpol.”

Punjab Police are reportedly trying to find if Dhami had any links to the drug smuggling network run by former police officer Jagdish Singh Bhola in which a large number of Non-Resident Indians, including some from Canada who are reportedly connected with the sport of kabaddi, are allegedly involved.

Dhami would have been easy to identify because of his tattoos. The FBI in its alert for Dhami had mentioned: “Dhami has the following tattoos: the word “Loyalty” on the outside of his right arm, the numbers “916” on the inside of his right arm, the word “Soorma” on the outside of his left arm, the letters “PBF” on his right chest, a teardrop under his left eye, and the word “Punjabi” on the inside of his left arm.”

 

IN May 2011, Dhami’s father, Balbir Singh Dhami, 54, was gunned down in Sacramento. His wife was injured. A friend of Balbir Dhami told the media that he was the owner of a truck stop.

Balbir Dhami had a criminal record and was awaiting sentencing after being convicted of drug running in a Los Angeles federal court, according to one U.S. media report.

According to another U.S. media report, Balbir Dhami was among six defendants indicted in a drug trafficking case early in 2008, according to federal court documents. Prosecutors alleged that he conspired to use his ties to the trucking business to transport large amounts of cocaine between Los Angeles, Sacramento, Canada and elsewhere in the country.

Wiretaps picked up conversations between defendants discussing shipments of as much as 48 kilograms of cocaine, according to documents. The authorities intercepted that shipment in New Mexico.

The report said that a jury convicted Dhami of the conspiracy charge in April 2010, but it does not appear he was ever sentenced. Shortly after the verdict, the national security division of the U.S. Department of Justice assumed control of the case.

 

– RATTAN MALL