A Brampton, Ont., man linked to a conspiracy to smuggle more than $120 million worth of cocaine from the U.S. into Canada faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
Harinder Dhaliwal, 47, of Brampton, Ont., pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to export 5 kilograms or more of cocaine into Canada from the U.S. Dhaliwal faces a minimum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny on Aug. 16.
U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch said that between 2006 and May 2011, Dhaliwal conspired with others to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S., along with marijuana and ecstasy from Canada into the U.S. using several international bridges, including those in Buffalo Niagara. As part of his plea agreement, Dhaliwal admitted to being part of an international conspiracy that trafficked more than 3,000 kilograms of cocaine worth $120 million, much of it through Western New York.
Over the course of their investigation, federal authorities seized 230 kilograms of cocaine – 123 kilograms obtained during two seizures at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and in Geneva, N.Y. That seizure represented the largest to date arising from a single investigation in the history of the Buffalo District U.S. Attorney's Office. The remaining 107 kilograms of cocaine were seized in California, federal authorities said.
Others convicted of charges in the conspiracy were identified as Ravinder Arora, Michael Bagri, Parminder Sidhu, Alvin Randhawa, Gursharan Singh and Huy Hong Nguyen.
According to federal authorities, the conspirators used tractor-trailers with false compartments in the floor of the vehicles. Dhaliwal and others used steel tubing, kick plates and other supplies they purchased to fabricate the false compartments in several tractor-trailers.
Ledgers seized during the federal investigation detailed at least a dozen smuggling trips that were made from late 2009 to September 2010 that involved about 1,617 kilograms of cocaine that were transported from the U.S., through Western New York and into Canada.