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3 Indo-Canadians to be extradited to US for drug trafficking


3 Indo-Canadians to be extradited to US for drug trafficking

Toronto, Feb 1 (IANS) Three Indian-origin men have been arrested in Canada and will be extradited for trial in the US for their alleged links with a network trafficking drugs between Mexico and the North American nations.

A joint operation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), dubbed “Operation Dead Hand”, saw 19 people charged in two US federal indictments for their alleged roles in the organized crime ring.

Ayush Sharma, 25, and Guramrit Sandhu, 60, both from Brampton, and Subham Kumar, 29, from Calgary, were arrested under an international arrest warrant, the RCMP said in a release on Tuesday.

“Drug trafficking is a global problem being driven by sophisticated, organised crime groups who put profits over people’s lives. Motivated by greed, these criminals destroy lives, devastate families, and wreak havoc in our community,” said US Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California.

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Investigators developed information indicating the organised crime group used Canadian “handlers’ and “dispatchers” who travelled from Canada to Los Angeles for short amounts of time, a Department of Justice release noted.

The handlers coordinated the pick-up and delivery of large shipments of cocaine and methamphetamine, which were loaded onto long-haul semi-trucks destined for Canada. Wholesale quantities of fentanyl were seized as a result of the investigation.

The transportation was coordinated by a network of drivers working with dozens of trucking companies who made numerous border crossings from the US to Canada via the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Buffalo Peace Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge.

Sidhu, also known as King, is alleged to have orchestrated the trafficking and exportation of large-scale quantities of controlled substances to Canada working with several co-defendants described as suppliers.

According to the indictment, Sidhu occupied the position of an organiser, supervisor, and manager, and in this role obtained substantial income and resources.

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He has been charged with one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and if convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Sharma and Kumar were identified in the indictment as semi-truck drivers involved in exporting drugs to Canada.

Both the indictments allege illicit drug trafficking activity cumulatively involving approximately 845 kgs of methamphetamine, 951 kgs of cocaine, 20 kgs of fentanyl, and 4 kgs of heroin.

Over $900,000 in cash was seized during the investigation. The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics seized was between $16-28 million.

Arrest and search warrants were executed on Tuesday morning by a coalition of international law enforcement partners in various cities, including Los Angeles; Sacramento, California; Miami; Odessa, Texas; Montreal; Toronto; and Calgary, Canada.

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