Canadian trucker arrested in suspected $6M cocaine smuggling bust
TORONTO -- A Canadian trucker was arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle $6 million worth of cocaine into Windsor, Ont. from Detroit, U.S. federal border officials said.
They made the discovery after pulling Jatinderpal Singh over for an inspection as he tried to cross the Ambassador Bridge early Saturday morning, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The documents, filed on Sunday and obtained by CTVNews.ca, describe how a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent noticed Singh showing signs of “extreme signs of nervousness.” That’s when they brought out a drug-sniffing dog that alerted officers.
The filing said officials found approximately 120 kilograms of cocaine, following an X-ray and physical search of the truck’s contents.
The street value of the cocaine in Toronto would have been close to $6 million, according to an affidavit from a U.S. Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer.
They added that commercial truck drivers can typically earn $1,000 per kilogram for each brick smuggled in Canada across the U.S.-Canada border.
The one-kilogram bricks were found hidden in clothing-storage-like cabinets which were less than 1.5 metres away from the driver, the filing describes. The bricks had hand-drawn characters “consistent with large scale drug smuggling/distribution,” it also stated.
SINGH DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF THE COCAINE: U.S. OFFICIALS
The affidavit asserted that, because Singh had been allegedly travelling with so many packages, he was likely not a novice. The ICE agent said drivers are only entrusted with more than 40 kilograms of narcotics if “they have completed multiple successful smuggling ventures.”
Court documents indicate Singh had driven the same truck across the U.S. border more than 70 times since 2017. And he had driven it into Detroit last Tuesday.
At the time, an X-ray of the truck’s contents didn’t reveal any drugs inside.
When eventually confronted by police, Singh denied having any knowledge of cocaine.
Singh is scheduled to appear in federal arraignment court on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan’s public information office Dave Ashenfelter wrote in an email.
But Singh allegedly may be eyeing for his case to be tried in Canada.
According to the documents, shortly after being arrested, he allegedly asked federal agents if defendants in the U.S. “receive a large discount relating to time sentenced as offered to Canadian defendants in Canada.”
The filing note that people in Canada are “generally incarcerated to significantly lower total sentences.”
None of the allegations in Singh’s case have been proven in court.