April 22nd, 2024

Couple testifies as drug smuggling trial continues

By Delon Shurtz on April 23, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A husband and wife accused of trying to smuggle cocaine into Alberta more than three years ago, didn’t know there were drugs in their truck, they testified at their trial in Lethbridge Thursday.
Gurminder and Kirandeep Toor testified the drugs didn’t belong to them, and they don’t know how they got in their truck or who put them there.
The couple was charged Dec. 2, 2017 after they stopped at the Coutts border with a commercial load of produce from California.
Border officers searched the cab of the truck and found 84 bricks of cocaine, considered at the time to be the largest cocaine seizure recorded by the Canada Border Services Agency in Alberta’s history.
“I didn’t believe it, because it was impossible,” Kirandeep testified.
She said she didn’t know there were drugs in the truck until a border officer told her he found them during the search.
RCMP reported at the time the drugs were worth between $6.5 million and $8 million on the street depending on how they’re broken down for sale, and a media spokesperson for the CBSA said the drugs would provide on the street between 100,000 and 200,000 hits.
Kirandeep testified she and her husband made several stops between Callfornia and Alberta, including a two-hour stop in Great Falls, Mont. to eat, shower and fuel up. However, Crown Prosecutor Kent Brown pointed out the driver’s log recorded only a 15-minute stop in Great Falls, and there weren’t any receipts to show they had showered or eaten.
Kirandeep said she didn’t even know what a driver’s log is, and never got involved in her husband’s business, even though the truck and trucking company are in her name.
She also told court her marriage in India in 2015 was arranged by her parents, and she only met Gurminder two weeks before they were married, and only spent about six hours with him.
Much of Gurminder’s testimony echoed his wife’s, and he said they picked up several loads from various locations in California before they began driving to their destination in Airdrie, Alta. They made several stops along the way, and spent about 90 minutes in Great Falls, he said, getting fuel, eating and showering. Meanwhile, the truck sat parked some distance away, and remained running because of the cold. Gurminder said he couldn’t see the vehicle from inside the truck stop, and he was away from the truck for about 75 minutes.
Gurminder said he wasn’t nervous or scared after they arrived at Coutts and were told to back into the warehouse for an inspection, and he was surprised when a border officer arrested him and said he had found drugs.
The trial continues today with Gurminder’s cross-examination by the Crown.
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Follow @DShurtzHerald on Twitter

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