June 18th, 2024

Sandhu on trial for record-setting meth seizure

By Delon Shurtz on January 10, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@ldethbridgeherald.com

The trial for a Calgary man accused of trying to smuggle millions of dollars worth of drugs into Alberta in 2020 is underway in a Lethbridge courtroom.

The trial for Amarpreet Singh Sandhu began Monday in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench, where the Crown introduced the first of its two witnesses, an officer with the Canada Border Services Agency who described his involvement with the accused when he arrived at the Coutts border Christmas Day of 2020.

Evidence presented so far in the trial is part of a voir dire – a mini trial within a trial – and is subject to a publication ban ordered by the judge.

The Crown is expected to call only one more witness to the stand today, another CBSA officer, before closing its case. Crown Prosecutor Kent Brown said during a break in the trial Monday the witness’ testimony will be lengthy because the accused requires an interpreter.

Despite the additional time required for the interpreter, Brown said the trial may conclude by the end of the week. It was initially expected to last two weeks, but was shortened after the Crown and defence agreed on a number of facts beforehand.

Sandhu, who is not in custody, was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in December 2020. The 40-year-old accused is charged with drug smuggling and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The charges relate to a record haul of methamphetamine that officers with the Canada Border Services Agency uncovered at the Coutts border on Dec. 25, 2020.

The CBSA reported at the time that officers referred a semi-truck hauling produce for further inspection, and while examining the shipment found 228 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The CBSA reported the drugs were worth about $28.5 million on the street and are equivalent to 2.28 million individual dosages.

Those reported amounts, however, have not been confirmed during the trial.

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

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