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Canadian man sentenced in largest cocaine bust in district history

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Parminder Sidhu, 43, of Brampton, Ontario, who was convicted of conspiracy to export from the United States five kilograms or more of cocaine, was sentenced to 15 years (180 months) in prison  by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that between 2009 and May 10, 2011, the defendant conspired with Michael Bagri, Ravinder Arora, Alvin Randhawa, Gursharan Singh, and Harinder Dhaliwal to export cocaine from the United States to Canada. In September 2010, Sidhu hired defendant Bagri to travel to California to pick up cocaine. Defendant Bagri then hid 97 kilograms of cocaine in a false compartment in the floor of a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer was then driven to Cheektowaga, NY where it was turned over to defendant Ravinder Arora. Defendant Arora then proceeded to Canada. At the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Special Agents with the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol seized the 97 kilograms of cocaine from the false compartment during a secondary inspection.
On May 1, 2011, Sidhu directed defendant Bagri to travel once again to California. After hiding another 26 kilograms of cocaine in another tractor trailer, the rig was driven to a truck stop in Pembroke, N.Y. The tractor trailer was then picked up by a driver hired by Parminder Sidhu. As the driver exited the truck stop, Bagri followed behind in another vehicle. Agents later stopped the tractor trailer and Sidhu’s vehicle and seized the 26 kilograms of cocaine.
During the execution of a search warrant at Sidhu’s residence in Canada, agents discovered drug ledgers which detailed nine addition smuggling trips in 2009 and 2010. These trips involved approximately 1,617 kilograms of cocaine being transported from the United States into Canada.
All six defendants have been convicted and sentenced.
Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in- Charge Kevin Kelly; Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Rose Brophy, Director of Field Operations; the Peel Regional Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jennifer Evans; the Canada Border Services Agency, under the direction of Rick Comerford; Regional Director General, Southern Ontario Region; and the Toronto Police, under the direction of Chief William Blair.