Ravinder Kumar Arora, a 29-year-old Indian-origin truck driver with permanent resident status in Canada, has been arrested for trying to smuggle a massive consignment of 109 kg of cocaine from the US into Canada. It is one the largest contraband consignment ever seized by the US authorities.
"This is the largest cocaine seizure to date in the Port of Buffalo and has a street value of approximately $3.6 million,'' Buffalo Port director Joseph J. Wilson said Thursday.
US Customs and Border Protection officials said the seizure was made when the truck was trying to leave the US at the Lewiston-Queenston crossing into Canada Wednesday. He is a resident of the Indian dominant city of Brampton on the outskirts of Toronto.
"During primary questioning, (the driver) appeared extremely nervous and was subsequently selected for an outbound enforcement examination,'' a US Customs and Border Protection agency statement said.
When customs officers inspected the vehicle, they found that the floor of a container had been tampered with. They also found that factory-sealed screws had been replaced.
"The floor boards of the container were removed, resulting in the discovery of 97 vacuum-sealed bricks of a white powder substance which later field-tested positive as cocaine,'' the statement said.
Arora will face prosecution by the the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York state.
"This is another shameful act by a person of Indian origin. It makes me hang my head shame. Even immigration minister Jason Kenney, currently in India, is also raising similar issues with the Indian authorities. This is a sad reflection on the whole Indian community in Canada,'' Nachhttar Singh Chohan, president of the Indian Trucking Association of Canada, told IANS.
In the past, many Indian-origin truck drivers have been arrested for trying to smuggle drugs from the US into Canada.
There have also been some cases of Indians and Pakistanis trying to smuggle drugs into Canada by hiding the contraband in marble slabs, cricket bats and balls, carpets and rugs.