A Canadian trucking company owner admitted to running one of the biggest cocaine smuggling operations ever uncovered in Western New York.
By the time he was caught, Parminder Sidhu says his trucks outfitted with false compartments had taken 11 trips into Canada.
All told, he estimates his haul at 3,800 pounds of cocaine.
Prosecutors have estimated the street value at upwards of $60 million.
Sidhu admitted to running the cross-border smuggling ring in 2009 and 2010 as part of a plea deal that could send him to federal prison for life.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export cocaine and, as part of his agreement, acknowledged working with at least two others to transport cocaine from California, through Western New York and into Canada.
Together, the three men were accused of using a warehouse on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga to conceal the drugs in the hidden compartments of Sidhu's tractor-trailers before they entered Canada.
Investigators say the cocaine was concealed well enough to escape detection by drug-sniffing dogs and X-ray equipment at the border.
The other defendants, Ravinder Arora and Michael Bagri, both from the Brampton, Ont., area, also have pleaded guilty and are reportedly cooperating with prosecutors.
From the time of Arora's conviction in September of 2011-- he was the first to take a plea -- Homeland Security and Customs investigators have called it one of the largest narcotics seizures in local history.
Border agents seized 213 pounds of coke during one stop in September of 2010 and another 57 pounds in May of 2011.
Sidhu now admits his cocaine-filled trucks took 9 other trips across the border.
Copyright 2014 - The Buffalo News, N.Y.
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