April 19th, 2024

Accused drug smuggler chooses to be tried by judge

By Delon Shurtz on April 14, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Calgary man accused of trying to smuggle millions of dollars worth of drugs into Alberta from the U.S., has chosen to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge, and have a preliminary hearing.

Calgary lawyer Alan Fay made the election Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court, on behalf of his client, Amarpreet Singh Sandhu, who is charged with drug smuggling and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Sandhu is charged in relation to a record haul of methamphetamine that officers with the Canada Border Services Agency uncovered at the Coutts border on Christmas Day of last year.

Officers referred a semi-truck hauling produce for further inspection, and while examining the shipment, discovered 228 kilograms of methamphetamine. The CBSA reported the drugs are worth about $28.5 million on the street and are equivilent to 2.28 million individual dosages.

The agency said at the time, the bust was the largest seizure of methamphetamine at a land border crossing in Canada.

Officers arrested the driver and turned him and the evidence over to Alberta RCMP.

“It is because of CBSA officers’ diligence while screening essential goods that this record amount of methamphetamine did not reach our streets or cause harm to our communities,” Ben Tame, CBSA southern Alberta director, said in a press release following the drug bust.

The accused, who was released on bail Jan. 14, was not required to attend court Tuesday. His matter returns May 4 to confirm a date for his preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is typically held to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.

The Crown told court he expects the hearing to take about two days.

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