SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A man prosecutors describe as a major international heroin trafficker has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison on federal drug charges.
Mushtaq Malik, 41, whose defense included a claim that he was double- crossed in a plot to kill Pakistan’s former leader, told a judge at his sentencing Thursday that he did not believe justice had been done.
″It seems to me that being a poor man from a Third World nation nobody’s looking at my side,″ Malik told U.S. District Judge Frank H. Freedman.
Malik was convicted by a jury last November on charges of importing heroin and conspiracy to import. Prosecutors alleged that Malik arranged for a Jordanian man to bring $10 million worth of heroin to the United States.
An appeal was expected on Malik’s behalf.
At his trial, Malik testified that his involvement with an accused drug dealer was merely an effort to track down a man he said had double-crossed him in a plot to kill former Pakistani President Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq.
A Pakistani official denied the assassination plot at the time of the testimony.
Malik did not say he was involved in a mysterious plane crash that killed Zia on Aug. 17, 1988, several months after Malik had been arrested.
The judge sentenced Malik to two concurrent prison terms of 24 years and five months, with five years supervised release.
At the sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan asked that Malik be sentenced to 30 years.
″Mr. Malik is an international narcotics trafficker of the highest level. Only the most serious punishment is appropriate in this case,″ O’Regan said.
But Malik’s attorney, Michael O. Jennings, asked the judge to consider a lower sentence, saying that people who commit more serious crimes do not get as long as 20 years to serve.