I would have thought the decision by Ontario superior court judge Michael Quigley to dismiss the drug charges against Avtar Singh Sandhu of Brampton, Ont., would have drawn howls, but there doesn’t seem to be much reaction. The judge felt the evidence was impugned because of the way it was gathered. On Feb. 7, 2007, an MTO official entered the trailer Sandhu was pulling after hew was brought to a stop and chased down by Mark Dorken from Truck Town Terminals of Milton who noticed Sandu “acting suspiciously.” Halton Regional cops joined the group on a 401 ramp. What the cops and MTO officer Jonas Leeman found was 208 kgs of uncut cocaine in brown packages nestled among crates of baby carrots–one of the biggest all time drug busts in Canada, let alone Halton.
Evidently, the judge thought that there was no reason to open the back doors of the trailer as the matter was a regulatory one and didn’t require a search of the cargo. Personally, I’ve always thought the MTO were supreme beings who could do anything they liked to your truck, so this is news to me. Mr. Sandhu is very lucky to walk away. Had this occurred in the US he’d be doing some serious time. I don’t know this man’s story or how he came to be hauling this commodity, but a google search reveals lots of this kind of activity. Jail sentences are stiff on both sides of the border, 12-20 years in the slammer, but that hasn’t stopped the flow via truck.
Recently CBSA intercepted two containers that were headed to Calgary, loaded to the hilt with poppy heads, the raw source of opium, morphine and heroin. Labelled as “dried grasses” the stuff was probably on its way to get processed in Calgary where the chemicals are available. Processing opium requires lots of chemicals, and you may or may not know that the processing of Afghani opium takes place in Pakistan where the chemicals are more readily available.
Regardless, this kind of trucking is a scourge, and it’s disturbing to note that this manifestation of evil sometimes involves new Canadians and immigrants, who may be more easily exploited or duped into hauling contraband. I certainly hope Mr. Sandu didn’t get to keep the coke, but what happened to the baby carrots?
Lastly, we truck drivers have been displaced by retail clerks as the most prevalent Canadian profession for men, according to the 2006 census. We’ve held this title for more than ten years so it’s a shame to see it slide away.
“Although there was a relatively large increase in the number of truck drivers between 2001 and 2006, truck driving was replaced by retail salespersons and sales clerks as the most common occupation among men.
“Nearly 285,800 men reported that they were retail salespeople or clerks, taking over the top spot from truck driving, which was reported by about 276,200. The third most prevalent occupation among men was still retail trade managers, at 192,200.”
Watch out for those retail trade managers, they’re making a move too!.
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs