|Gursharan Singh, 34, of Brampton was sentenced to 63 months in jail in a Buffalo courtroom on July 12. He’s been in jail since 2014 after his arrest in Canada. He was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges, and has similar drug charges pending against him in Toronto. He is one of seven convicted in the conspiracy and pleaded guilty last year. Singh conspired with others to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S. between 2007 and 2011 in transport trucks. Police said he was involved in the trafficking of approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine, with a value of over $80 million. During the investigation, 230 kilograms of cocaine was seized.|
Another Brampton truck driver involved, Harinder Dhaliwal, 47, pleaded guilty in April to similar charges and will be sentenced Aug. 16 in Buffalo. The minimum mandatory is a 10-year prison sentence, a maximum of life, and a $10-million fine.
The vast majority of cocaine coming into Canada comes via Mexico.
|Dozens of truckers from the Greater Toronto Area have been charged with smuggling drugs into Canada in recent years, a trend that appears rooted in the changing nature of the drug trade. Border agents have found bricks of cocaine stuffed in fruit and vegetable shipments or in hidden compartments. Cocaine is now being moved across the border via land instead of ports that were used in smuggling operations in the past.|
Baldev Singh, 44, walks out of Superior Court in 2014 after being found guilty
|Toronto-area trucker Baldev Singh, who had been on the lam for 2½ years, was picked up in May in a routine traffic stop. Over the objections of the prosecutor, a Superior Court judge allowed Singh to remain free on bail until his sentencing. Singh never returned to court. Singh was sentenced in absentia to 12 years in a federal penitentiary. He has started his sentence.|
Fate was cruel to Singh on the morning of March 19, 2009. His truck was randomly selected for a training exercise with a drug-sniffing dog at the Ambassador Bridge. The dog handler went about hiding a dummy stash in a crate in Singh’s trailer. She removed a bag of oranges to find 21 bricks of cocaine hidden underneath it.
Members of southern Ontario’s Indo-Canadian community, in particular from Brampton and Mississauga, are increasingly being used in the North American drug trade. An estimated 65 per cent of Ontario’s long-haul truck drivers are Indo-Canadian, making them logical participants in drug trafficking. Reports say some have received more than $20,000 per trip.