Canadian border officials make record meth seizure, file charges against truck driver

COUTTS, Alberta — Christmas Day wasn’t very merry for one Canadian truck driver, according to a Jan. 27 statement released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

On Dec. 25, 2020, a tractor-trailer with a load of produce, driven by Amarpreet Singh Sandhu, 38, of Calgary, approached the Coutts, Alberta, port of entry and was referred for secondary inspection by CBSA officers.

While examining the shipment, CBSA officers uncovered and seized 228.14 kilograms (502.96 pounds) of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $28.5 million — the largest meth seizure at a land-border crossing on record in Canada. This amount of methamphetamine translates to 2.28 million individual doses.

“While many Canadians were celebrating Christmas at home, border services officers at Coutts remained on the front line to protect our country,” said Ben Tame, director for the Southern Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan District, Prairie Region, of CBSA. “It is because of CBSA officers’ diligence while screening essential goods that this record amount of methamphetamine did not reach our streets or cause harm to our communities.”

Sandhu was arrested by CBSA officers; he and the evidence were turned over to the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). After further investigation, RCMP’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) charged Sandhu on two counts — importation of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking — pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

“The success of this operation is a testament to the strong partnership the RCMP shares with CBSA, and law enforcement agencies across Canada,” said Superintendent K.C.A. (Allan) Lai, a federal policing operations officer with Alberta RCMP’s federal policing criminal operations. “We know that crime has no borders, and it is imperative that we continue working with our partners, like CBSA, to share information and coordinate enforcement action as needed to keep Canadians from the harms of illegal drugs and crime related to smuggling in Alberta and all of Canada.”

Sandhu was released from custody on Jan. 14, and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 11, at the Lethbridge Provincial Courthouse.

The previous record for amount of methamphetamine seized at a land border crossing was approximately 200 kilograms (440.9 pounds), from an incident on Dec. 24, 2019, at the Ambassador Bridge port of entry in Windsor, Ontario.