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InvisibleveggieM

Registered: 07/26/04
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Traffic officer happens on record cocaine haul [CAN]
    #6543394 - 02/08/07 08:29 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Traffic officer happens on record cocaine haul
February 8, 2007 - theglobeandmail.com

OAKVILLE, ONT. -- A chance encounter between a truck driver and an alert motorist near a busy highway west of Toronto led to the biggest cocaine seizure in Halton Region's history, police said yesterday.

By any measure it was an unusual bust.

Discovered Sunday morning by an astonished Ministry of Transportation enforcement officer who thought he had encountered a traffic dispute, the 205 kilograms of near-pure cocaine were inside an Ontario-registered tractor-trailer that was hauling a load of carrots and carrot juice and had crossed the U.S. border just hours earlier.

But far from being concealed, the big pile of drugs -- put on display yesterday and guarded by tactical response police officers toting automatic rifles -- was in plain view at the back of the trailer, police said, suggesting the unidentified motorist stumbled across a drop-off in progress.

At wholesale level, high-quality cocaine retails for about $35,000 a kilogram, which would make the haul worth just over $7-million. Cut to half-strength or less with baking soda or milk sugar and sold in units of several grams each, the net value would be closer to $20-million.

And while just one suspect is in custody, the 39-year-old truck driver who was arrested at the scene, police are certain the scale of the seizure denotes a larger operation.

"This represents a sophisticated group," Detective Inspector Chris Perkins told a crowded media conference at Halton Police headquarters. "Somewhere, someone is upset they lost a significant amount of money. I suspect they're concerned."

The chain of events began around 9:30 a.m., when the mystery motorist spotted the tractor-trailer parked at a truck stop, close to Highway 401 in Milton. Police would not say what made the man suspicious, but for whatever reason he spoke to the driver.

The driver rode off but stopped his truck a second time less than a kilometre away, with the motorist close behind, and a second conversation -- not an argument, police stressed -- ensued.

That's when transit ministry officer Jason Leeman happened by, and with some prompting from the motorist, he peered into the back of the trailer.

"I was little overwhelmed, to tell you the truth, I was totally shocked," Mr. Leeman said yesterday. "I had a very strong suspicion it was narcotics but I wasn't sure what was going on. I was just trying to offer my assistance."

He then contacted Halton Police. Drug-squad officers arrived soon after, seized the bricks of cocaine (some of which had been cut open) and arrested the truck driver.

While this set of circumstances is novel, cross-border smuggling is not, said RCMP Superintendent Ron Allen, who oversees drug enforcement in the GTA.

"Over the past several years, organized crime has infiltrated the trucking industry in Ontario, especially with the movement of goods back and forth across the border," he said.

"You have MDMA [ecstasy] and marijuana going south, with cocaine and money coming back north. The main pipeline for cocaine right now is through Mexico, across the U.S. border and up into Canada, with truckers picking it up in the southern U.S."

Markings on this batch of book-sized kilogram bricks suggest they originated in South America, most likely Colombia.

Avtar Sandhu is in custody, charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

His brother, Jon Sandhu, 28, said yesterday he and other worried family members are sure his brother is innocent. "I just went to visit him in jail today, and he said to me, 'I don't know what is going on. I don't know why they took me.' "

Jon Sandhu said that his brother, who lives in Brampton and has a two-year-old son, has been a truck driver for 18 months and started working for his current employer two months ago.


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OfflineOjom
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Re: Traffic officer happens on record cocaine haul [CAN] [Re: veggie]
    #6543399 - 02/08/07 08:34 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

"The chain of events began around 9:30 a.m., when the mystery motorist spotted the tractor-trailer parked at a truck stop, close to Highway 401 in Milton. Police would not say what made the man suspicious, but for whatever reason he spoke to the driver."

OMG there is a truck stopped at a truck stop. This is suspicious!!! I must speak to the driver and ask him why the hell he has stopped at a truck stop.

What a douche-bag motorist...


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Offlinededjam
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Re: Traffic officer happens on record cocaine haul [CAN] [Re: Ojom]
    #6543404 - 02/08/07 08:38 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Id love to see those drugs stolen back while they are on display. That much worth of coke might make you fear those automatic guns a little less. Maybe a well planned heist...

Ok, too many movies, hollywood has corrupted me lol


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OfflineApJunkie
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Re: Traffic officer happens on record cocaine haul [CAN] [Re: dedjam]
    #6543957 - 02/08/07 02:02 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

gopenguins said:
Id love to see those drugs stolen back while they are on display. That much worth of coke might make you fear those automatic guns a little less. Maybe a well planned heist...

Ok, too many movies, hollywood has corrupted me lol




Dude, how sick would it be if they snuck back in there and pilfered all those drugs without the cops finding out. Sure, I'm infected by hollywood-itis too, but it would be awesome as hell! :laugh:


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