Trucker charged amid $47M drug bust in Sarnia applying for bail – Sarnia Observer
A trucker charged after border officials and the RCMP said they seized $47 million in illegal drugs at the Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia, prompting a response from Canada’s safety minister, is hoping to be released on bail soon.
Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP officers found a combined 265 kilograms of narcotics among large garbage bags and spare tires in a commercial vehicle during a secondary examination on Jan. 13 on the Canadian side of the twin-span bridge between Port Huron, Mich. and Point Edward, officials said in a joint statement several weeks later. The drugs included suspected versions of heroin, pink cocaine, and meth, officials said.
A border services spokesperson estimated the value of the drugs seized at $47 million.
“The dedication of officers from these forces kept approximately 265 kilograms of illegal suspected narcotics from reaching our communities and weakening the grip of organized crime,” the statement said.
Arshdeep Singh, 23, from Quebec City is facing six Controlled Drugs and Substances Act charges – three for importing and three for possession for the purpose of trafficking. For weeks his lawyer has talked about setting up a “special” bail hearing during brief appearances in Sarnia video remand court and that finally got underway Friday, with two sureties stepping forward on behalf of Singh.
Singh, wearing standard-issue orange clothes with long brown hair and a beard, listened to the hearing through a Punjabi interpreter over a video feed from the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton. Despite dedicating the day to the hearing, it had to be adjourned Friday afternoon to a second date due to the amount of evidence, witnesses and case law lawyers on both sides included.
Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer Kim Schofield represented Singh while SS Aujla, general counsel for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, worked on behalf of the Crown.
All evidence heard at the hearing is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. When it finally wraps up, the decision to grant or deny bail will be up to justice of the peace Helen Gale, but her reasons will also be covered by the publication ban.
A new date is expected to be selected Wednesday.
Despite the incident taking place in mid-January, officials didn’t announce the drug seizure until March 2. In a statement at the time, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said safety and security is a top priority.
“Our work to protect Canadians begins at our borders, stopping illicit drugs from coming into Canada and disrupting criminal activity. I want to thank the RCMP and the CBSA for their quick and decisive action to keep Canadians safe,” he said.
A district director for the CBSA said they were “proud of this significant seizure,” and an RCMP superintendent said it’s a great example of the two organizations working together.
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