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Canadian man arraigned for role in cross-border drug operation

A Canadian man allegedly involved in a conspiracy to bring cocaine and marijuana across the United States-Canada border was arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder.

Harinder Dhaliwal, 44, was indicted in February 2014 along with two co-defendants, Alvin Randhawa and Gursharan Singh, on charges of conspiracy to export cocaine, attempt to export cocaine, conspiracy to import marijuana and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10 million fine.

Based on the indictment, Dhaliwal between 2007 and May 2011 conspired with others to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the United States and marijuana into the U.S. from Canada via international bridges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Investigators said they believe about 2,000 kilograms of cocaine were trafficked.

Also charged were Ravinder Arora, Michael Bagri and Parminder Sidhu, all of whom have been convicted, officials said. Officials said the case involved the largest seizure of cocaine in the history of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of New York.

Dhaliwal pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and is being detained pending trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Extradition proceedings are under way to bring Randhawa and Singh, both of whom are in Canada, to Buffalo.