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Cocaine smuggling cases back in court

Posted on August 10, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Delon Shurtz
Southern Alberta Newspapers

A 26-year-old Calgary man accused of trying to smuggle more than $5 million worth of cocaine into Alberta late last year, may finally be ready to move ahead with his case when he returns to court next month.

Margaret Morse, student-at-law with the Hadford Defence Group in Lethbridge, said July 27 in Lethbridge court of justice that while more time is needed to review disclosure and possible early case resolution with the accused, Jagroop Singh, defence should be ready to take a step when the case is back in court on Aug. 24.

The Federal Crown also noted it is ready to take a step, and said complete disclosure has been provided to Singh’s lawyer.

Singh is charged with single counts under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of drug importation and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

On Nov. 21, 2022, officers with the Canada Border Services Agency seized 53 kg of cocaine following a search of a commercial transport vehicle at the Coutts border crossing. The drugs, worth about $5.3 million on the street, were hidden within a shipment of produce and turned over to IBET, the Integrated Border Enforcement Team, for further investigation.

IBET is a joint force operation between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Services Agency, and Calgary Police Service.

“I cannot overstate the contributions of each law enforcement partner represented in IBET,” Supt Sean Boser of Federal Policing said in a news release following Singh’s arrest. “Together, we successfully prevented harmful drugs from entering Canada and harming our communities.”

Brad Wozny, regional director general for the CBSA, added the safety and security of Canadians is the federal government’s top priority.

“By stopping illegal drugs at the border, we’re keeping our communities safe,” Wozny said. “This seizure is another great example of the ongoing cooperation between the CBSA, the RCMP and the Calgary Police Service in securing our borders.”

Barely two weeks before the drug bust, another Calgary man was charged with identical offences.

On Nov. 6 a commercial transport truck arrived at the border with a shipment of bananas. A secondary examination was initiated by border officials, who discovered 43 kg of cocaine hidden inside the load of fruit.

The following day, Gurkirat Singh, 27, of Calgary, was charged with single counts of importing drugs and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. On June 8 Singh’s lawyer, Lisa Jean Helps of Vancouver, B.C., pleaded not guilty on his behalf to both charges.

Singh’s matter was last in court on July 20 when Helps said a pre-trial conference had been arranged for Aug. 15, and the matter could return to court on Aug. 17 to confirm trial dates.

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