July 20th, 2024

Accused drug smugglers to stand trial next summer

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on September 28, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Two B.C. men accused of trying to smuggle drugs over the border earlier this year are scheduled to stand trial next summer in Lethbridge court of justice.

Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu and Harmanpreet Singh Sidhu will stand trial for one week beginning June 17, 2024. The date was confirmed Thursday in Lethbridge court of justice by their respective lawyers, John Oman of Calgary and Pir Indar Singh Sahota of Surrey, B.C. Oman also pointed out he had only recently become legal counsel for Sandhu, who was previously represented by Sahota.

The accused are charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act with importing narcotics and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. They are also charged with smuggling under the Customs Act.

The charges were laid after two men in a commercial vehicle tried to bring 245 kilograms of methamphetamine through the Coutts border on April 17.

Sandhu and Sidhu, who were released from custody three days later on $1,000 bail and several conditions, reside in Surrey B.C. and were not required to attend court Thursday.

Charges against a 27-year-old Calgary man who is accused of trying to smuggle drugs through the Coutts border late last year were also in court Thursday.

Gurkirat Singh, who pleaded not guilty in June to charges of importing drugs and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking, also faces charges of drug possession and failure to comply with release conditions. The latter two charges were in court Thursday, but adjourned to Oct. 18 in a Calgary courtroom.

Singh is scheduled to stand trial on the charges of importing drugs and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking April 22-26, 2024 in Lethbridge.

The charges stem from a search of a commercial transport truck after it arrived at the border Nov. 6, 2022 with a shipment of bananas. Border officials found 43 kg of cocaine hidden inside the load of fruit, then referred the matter to the RCMP’s federal Integrated Border Enforcement for further investigation. Singh was charged the following day.

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