Canadian accused of trying to smuggle $6M in cocaine over Ambassador Bridge

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Canadian truck driver tried to smuggle $6 million worth of cocaine from Detroit into Windsor over the Ambassador Bridge, federal officials said.

Jatinderpal Singh is accused of trying to cross the international border with about 120 kilograms, or about 265 pounds, of suspected cocaine in multiple plastic-wrapped bricks, according to a complaint filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Singh was about to drive a commercial truck from Detroit over the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers selected it for inspection, the complaint said.

Singh exhibited "extreme signs of nervousness during the initial encounter," it said.

Officers used a drug-detecting dog during the inspection and the animal alerted them to the presence of narcotics from multiple locations in the truck, according to officials.

They then inspected the truck with X-ray machines and found several plastic-wrapped packages concealed within factory-built storage cabinets and under the truck's sleeping bunk, according to the complaint. In total, 120 bricks were found in the truck, it said.

Officers conducted a physical inspection of the truck and found the 120 kilograms of a substance suspected to be cocaine and several empty duffel bags. Officials said the bags are the type used for transporting large amounts of drugs.

Agents placed Singh under arrest and questioned him. He did not acknowledge ownership of the suspected cocaine and denied both knowledge of the drugs and its presence of it, agents said.

He also asked "if defendants in the U.S. receive a large discount relating to time sentenced as offered to Canadian defendants in Canada," according to the complaint. 

Further investigation revealed Singh and the truck had entered Detroit over the Ambassador Bridge last Tuesday. The truck had also been inspected at the bridge and released after being cleared, the complaint said.

Most truck drivers involved in cocaine smuggling typically receive under 40 kilograms to carry per trip and only drivers who have successfully completed multiple smuggling attempts get more than that, officials said in the filing. Commercial truck drivers can earn $1,000 per kilo to smuggle cocaine from the U.S to Canada, they also said.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez