Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Trucker Arrested in Canada for Smuggling $4.86 Million Cocaine Haul

by Antariksh Singh

In a significant drug trafficking bust, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) successfully detained Sukhwinder Dhanju, a 35-year-old truck driver of Indian descent. Dhanju was apprehended while trying to smuggle an astonishing C$6.5 million ($4.86 million) worth of cocaine into Canada. The arrest took place at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge port of entry in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, on September 26, 2023.

Dhanju’s actions, upon reaching the primary inspection booth, raised suspicions, prompting authorities to refer his truck and trailer for a thorough secondary examination. According to a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the subsequent inspection of the cargo uncovered 202 brick-shaped objects, collectively weighing 233 kg, all of which tested positive for cocaine.

The CBSA promptly arrested Dhanju and handed him over to the RCMP Border Integrity Unit, along with the seized narcotics. Following an exhaustive investigation, Dhanju, a resident of Brampton, was officially charged on December 19, 2023, with importation of cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Superintendent Rae Bolsterli, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Border Integrity Program, emphasized the collaborative effort between the RCMP and CBSA in disrupting the drug trade. “The RCMP and the CBSA once again, through a joint effort, demonstrated continued commitment in working together to effectively disrupt the drug trade,” she stated.

Dhanju has been released with stringent conditions, and his next court appearance is scheduled for February 2 in St Catharines, Ontario.

This incident comes on the heels of another arrest involving an Indian-origin truck driver in Ontario. Last month, 27-year-old Manpreet Singh, also a resident of Brampton, was charged after authorities seized over 100 pounds of suspected cocaine. Singh faces charges of importation of cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In a related development, an elderly Sikh truck driver, Raj Kumar Mehmi from Surrey, fled to India after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking. Mehmi was found guilty of smuggling 80 kg of cocaine into British Columbia through the Canada-US Pacific Highway border crossing.

The CBSA, in the Southern Ontario region alone, reported seizures of more than 1,300 kg of narcotics from January to October 31, 2023, underscoring the persistent challenges posed by drug trafficking across the Canadian border. The cases involving Dhanju, Singh, and Mehmi highlight the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to curb the illegal drug trade and bring perpetrators to justice.

Antariksh Singh

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