COURTS: Cocaine found in truck bound for Brampton, Ont., valued at $10 million, court hears

Published: October 18, 2012

The Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit to Windsor, Ont., is shown June 15, 2012, in Detroit, Mich. Getty Images

POSTMEDIA NEWS

Canadian customs officers at the Ambassador Bridge found 100 kilograms of cocaine worth at least $10 million in a truck driven by Kuldeep Singh Dharni, the Brampton trucker’s drug smuggling trial was told Monday.

Federal prosecutor Richard Pollock said Canada Border Services Agency officers found the cocaine hidden among steel coils heading from Indiana to Brampton about 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2009.

With an estimated street value of at least $10 million, it was the second-largest bust of cocaine at the Ambassador Bridge that Pollock has ever seen.

“We were in primary (inspection area) looking for trucks we had never seen,” testified Andrew Davies, a CBSA officer who had a hunch about Dharni’s 53-foot transport-trailer. “It stood out.”

Davies directed the unsealed truck to off-site secondary commercial inspection, where he questioned Dharni, who he said seemed tired.

Davies also said Dharni showed signs of nerves when he was told an ion-testing machine registered a positive reading for marijuana and that a detector dog would soon board the truck.

“He appeared to be a little shaky at times,” said Davies, who noticed that Dharni’s carotid artery seemed to pulse more quickly.

Officers found four duffel bags and one plastic shopping bag filled with 100 bricks of a white powdery substance.

“They appeared to be shrink-wrapped packages of suspected cocaine,” Davies said.

Defence lawyer Patrick Ducharme pointed out that Davies never jotted down Dharni’s apparently quickened pulse in his notebook.

“Nowhere, not anywhere in your handwritten notes, do you make reference to that visual you noticed on his neck,” Ducharme said.

No, Davies said.

Ducharme asked Davies how long he had been a border officer at the time of Dharni’s arrest. Davies said one year. Ducharme also asked if Davies is an expert on body language. Davies said he is not.

Ducharme suggested that even if his client had reacted nervously, it would not indicate guilt, given that Dharni had just been told his truck tested positive for marijuana.

“It’s a natural, anxiety-raising moment, isn’t it?” Ducharme asked, with Dharni listening beside him through the help of a Punjabi translator.

Davies agreed.

Ducharme also pointed out that the truck did not belong to his client but to Experience Trucking, for whom Dharni had been working for about five months. The owner of the truck, Ducharme said, is charged with importing cocaine at the Blue Water Bridge.

The trial continues.

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