$3 million cocaine bust at the border

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U.S. border agents arrested a 41-year-old man at the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing on May 9 as he headed to Canada with $3 million in cocaine. The arrest occurred after an anonymous tip was given to law enforcement two days before warning of a commercial vehicle bound for Canada with narcotics. 

Ajitpal Singh Sanghera was booked into the Whatcom County Jail on May 10 for the possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver it, according to jail booking data. Sanghera, held on $100,000 bail, was released by the county on Friday, May 15 when the federal prosecutor took the case, said Whatcom County prosecutor Eric Richey. 

Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP), who received the names of the vehicle’s company and driver, sent the truck and another truck from the same company to secondary inspection, according to records from the Whatcom County Superior Court. Sanghera was driving the second vehicle, a blue 2000 Freightliner with B.C. plates towing a trailer with Oklahoma plates. 

Five handbags containing 60 kilograms of cocaine were found when CBP inspected the trailer, records state, leading to the arrest at 8:56 p.m. During the arrest, Sanghera said he obtained the trailer in Seattle that day. 

Sanghera was in contact with the other vehicle’s driver over 10 times on the day of the arrest and had tampered with the seal on the back of the trailer which suggested someone entered the trailer, according to court documents. 

The defendant crossed into the U.S. over 40 times this year, according to the affidavit, which suggested Sanghera could be connected with an international drug trafficking organization. 

Dona Bracke, Whatcom County deputy prosecuting attorney, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has jurisdiction over cases involving border smuggling. The case was dismissed from Whatcom County when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle accepted the case.

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