Transport driver caught with cocaine sentenced to seven years


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A Quebec truck driver caught smuggling 80 kilograms of cocaine into Canada at the Ambassador Bridge was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison, cutting his possible sentence by half after agreeing to testify against other alleged players in a drug trafficking operation.

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Gurinder Singh, 29, was given seven years in prison minus pre-sentence custody of 45 days, Superior Court Justice Renee Pomerance said Friday.

As previously reported by the Windsor Star, Singh, a transport truck driver originally from LaSalle, Que., was charged with importation of a controlled substance related to a July 30, 2019 seizure of 80 kilograms of cocaine inside Singh’s truck. A Canada Border Service Agency dog ​​sniffed out the illicit cargo as Singh attempted to enter Canada. Singh pleaded guilty last year.

A second count of possession for the purposes of trafficking was withdrawn Friday.

With Singh acting as what Pomerance called a “cog in the criminal wheel,” he received a reduced sentence based on the strength of his planned testimony against people allegedly higher up in the criminal operation, a Pomerance factor weighed at length in her sentencing decision.

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“His co-operation with authorities is clearly a mitigating factor on sentence,” Pomerance said. “The question is how far that factor goes and what the appropriate sentence is in this case.”

Pomerance said she also weighed the need to detect others from committing similar crimes, as well as the “untold misery, addiction and death” drugs bring to communities.

As previously reported by the Star, Singh was facing what could have been a sentence of 13 to 15 years when federal drug prosecutor Stephane Marinier argued earlier this year for an “exceptional circumstances” sentence of seven to eight years given the importance of Singh’s testimony in bringing trafficking charges against three other individuals on trial in Toronto.

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The cocaine was up to 87 per cent pure and had a street value of as much as $8.8 million, though Singh’s defense lawyer previously told the court his client’s promised payout was about $40,000, the Star reported. The defense had also noted in a sentencing hearing Singh was a “minor player” in the alleged criminal organization.

The Star previously reported that defense lawyer Patrick Ducharme had argued for a prison sentence of five to seven years given the “danger” Singh faces for testifying against other criminals in a current trafficking case, noting his client would require protective custody. Lawyer Evan Weber appeared on behalf of Ducharme in court for the sentencing Friday.

Pomerance issued a sentence of seven years in prison, to be served in a jurisdiction close to Montreal.

-With files from Doug Schmidt

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