ON December 25, 2020, while facilitating the entry of essential goods at the Coutts, Alberta port of entry, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers referred a semi-truck hauling produce for further inspection. While examining the shipment, officers uncovered 228.14 kg of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $28.5 million. This amount of methamphetamine translates to 2.28 million individual dosages.
The Coutts border crossing is located on Highway 4 approximately 109 km southeast of Lethbridge. This is the CBSA’s largest seizure of methamphetamine at a land border crossing on record across Canada.
The previous CBSA record for amount of methamphetamine seized at a land border crossing was approximately 200 kg, from an incident on December 24, 2019, at the Ambassador Bridge port of entry in Windsor, Ontario. Methamphetamine is a powerful synthetic stimulant. It is illegal, highly addictive, and very dangerous to a person’s health.
CBSA officers arrested the driver and turned the individual and the evidence over to Alberta RCMP. After a thorough investigation, the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) has since charged Amarpreet Singh Sandhu, 38, of Calgary with importation of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Sandhu was released from custody on January 14, and is scheduled to appear in court on February 11 at the Lethbridge Provincial Courthouse.
The CBSA said that seizing and effectively preventing this enormous amount of methamphetamine from reaching our streets will have a positive impact on the safety of all Alberta communities.
Ben Tame, Director, Southern Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan District, Prairie Region, CBSA, said: “While many Canadians were celebrating Christmas at home, border services officers at Coutts remained on the front line to protect our country. It is because of CBSA officers’ diligence while screening essential goods that this record amount of methamphetamine did not reach our streets or cause harm to our communities.”
Superintendent K.C.A. (Allan) Lai, Federal Policing Operations Officer, Alberta RCMP Federal Policing Criminal Operations, added: “The success of this operation is a testament to the strong partnership the RCMP shares with CBSA, and law enforcement agencies across Canada. We know that crime has no borders and it is imperative that we continue working with our partners, like CBSA, to share information and coordinate enforcement action as needed to keep Canadians from the harms of illegal drugs and crime related to smuggling in Alberta and all of Canada.”