Canadian Indian gets stiff sentence in U.S. for drug trafficking

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Harinder Dhaliwal, 47, of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced Aug. 16, to 240 months (12 years) in prison for exporting massive quantities of cocaine from the United States to Canada.

The sentence was handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Between 2006 and May of 2011, Dhaliwal, along with Ravinder Arora, Michael Bagri, Parminder Sidhu, Alvin Randhawa, Gursharan Singh, and Huy Hoang Nguyen, smuggled cocaine into Canada from the United States along with marijuana and ecstasy over international bridges including those in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

As part of his plea agreement, Dhaliwal admitted to being a part of an international conspiracy that trafficked more than 3,000 kilograms of cocaine, most of it through the Western District of New York and worth an estimated $120,000,000.

United States law enforcement officers recovered a total of 230 kilograms of cocaine, of which 123 kilograms were obtained through two separate seizures, one at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and one in Geneva, New York with the remaining 107 kilograms seized in California.

In addition, law enforcement officers seized approximately 690,000 ecstasy pills during the course of the investigation with an estimated street value of $12 million.

The defendants used tractor-trailers that contained false compartments within the floor of tractor-trailers for which Dhaliwal and the others purchased steel tubing, kick plates and other supplies to fabricate the false compartments in several of the tractor-trailers.

Authorities believe Dhaliwal and his co-conspirators made at least a dozen trips across the border between late 2009 and September 2010, transporting approximately 1,617 kilograms of cocaine through the Western District of New York.