Coutts, Alberta – The RCMP Federal Policing’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) in Raymond, Alberta, have arrested five men in relation to charges of Importation of a Controlled Substance and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) after three separate seizures of cocaine at the Coutts, Alberta, Port of Entry.
On September 2, 2016, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Coutts conducted a search of a commercial truck as it entered Canada with a load of televisions. The CBSA officers discovered 60 packages of a controlled substance, weighing 69 kilograms, secreted in the load of televisions. The controlled substance was determined to be cocaine. Two men were detained under the Customs Act for smuggling and the RCMP IBET unit out of Raymond were contacted and asked to attend the port of entry. On September 3, 2016, the RCMP charged 29-year-old Gurpreet Singh Cheema and 28-year-old Gurpreet Singh with Importing a Controlled Substance and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The two men made their first court appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court on September 12, 2016, and have been released on a strict set of conditions imposed by the court. The two accused are scheduled to appear in Provincial Court on October 24, 2016 in Lethbridge.
On September 4, 2016, at approximately 11:20 P.M., CBSA officers conducted a search of a commercial truck as it entered Canada through the Coutts Port of Entry. The shipment on the truck was a load of novelty items destined for market in Alberta. Concealed within the load were 34 packages, weighing 40.45 kilograms, of a controlled substance which was tested and determined to be cocaine. CBSA detained the driver under the Customs Act and requested attendance of the RCMP’s IBET unit which launched its investigation into the matter. The driver, 34-year-old Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, was charged with Importing a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. He appeared in Lethbridge Provincial Court on September 16, 2016, and was released from custody on a set of several strict conditions imposed by the court. Mr. Sandhu is scheduled to appear in court on October 24, 2016, at 9:30 A.M. at the Provincial Courthouse in Lethbridge.
On October 10, 2016, a commercial vehicle hauling produce was stopped at the Coutts Port of Entry by CBSA officers who inspected the vehicle and its load. During the search, 83 bricks of cocaine were located hidden throughout the cab of the vehicle. The total weight of the seizure was 92.74 kg. The load of produce was destined for an Alberta business. CBSA officers contacted the RCMP’s IBET unit and the driver and co-driver were taken into custody. Charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking and Importing a Controlled Substance are Jasmail Singh Sander (53) of British Columbia and Parmjeet Singh Sandhu (31) of Ontario. The two men made their first court appearance on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, in Lethbridge at the Provincial Court and were released on strict conditions.
In all three instances, the commercial trucks were operating for commercial trucking companies based in British Columbia.
The total weight of the cocaine from the three seizures is 202.19 kilograms (445.7 pounds). The police investigation is continuing and additional details are not available given that the matters are now before the courts.