A Toronto-area trucker convicted of attempting to smuggle 69 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside bins of oranges while entering Canada from across the Ambassador Bridge failed to show up for his sentence hearing on Friday. Justice Bruce Thomas issued a warrant for the arrest of 44-year-old Maple resident Baldev Singh.
He was scheduled to appear in court after being found guilty in September of importing a controlled substance into Canada and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
Singh attempted to cross into Canada March 19, 2009 in a tractor-trailer carrying 54 bins of oranges from Woodlake, California, when he was pulled over for further inspection by Canada Border Services Agency. Officers using sniffer dogs discovered the 69 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside two containers holding the oranges near the front of the trailer.
They also found three suitcases - one containing Singh's clothing - that tested positive for cocaine residue.
Federal drug prosecutor Richard Pollock requested in court Friday that Singh be sentenced in absentia. A date will be set in January to hear the request.
Singh also forfeits the bail posted for his release.
Singh was to be paid $7,000 for picking up the load of oranges in California, according to evidence at his court trial.
Singh repeatedly denied in court having placed the cocaine in the trailer.
The seizure was among the largest of cocaine locally in recent years. Last November, US customs officers discovered 144 pounds (62.5 kilograms) of cocaine during an outbound inspection at the Ambassador Bridge.