An anonymous tip led U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing in Blaine to finding an estimated $3 million in cocaine Saturday in a commercial truck heading to Canada. Officers believe the driver of the truck is connected to a large international drug trafficking organization.
Ajitpal Singh Sanghera, 41, was booked into Whatcom County Jail Sunday morning, May 10, on suspicion of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and jail records show he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Law enforcement received an anonymous tip on Thursday, May 7, with specific information about a commercial vehicle that would be crossing into Canada from the United States carrying narcotics, according to Whatcom County Superior Court Records filed Monday, May 11.
Customs and Border Protection officers working on the outbound inspection at the Truck Crossing in Blaine Saturday, May 9, spotted the truck and another from the same company in line at the point of entry, documents state, and both vehicles were sent for secondary inspection shortly before 9 p.m.
Sanghera was driving the second truck -- a blue 2000 Freightliner with British Columbia plates and towing a trailer with Oklahoma plates -- court documents state.
During the trailer check, a Customs officer found five handbags in the rear of the trailer containing more than 60 kilograms of cocaine, according to documents.
Sanghera waved his Miranda rights, documents state, and told officers during questioning that he was the owner of the truck and had picked up the trailer in Seattle earlier that day. He also reportedly admitted that the seal placed on the rear of the trailer for security and safety purposes of the load did not match the seal number on the manifest.
Sanghera also could not explain discrepancies in the route he used after he entered the United States, documents state, but said he had been in contact with the driver of the other truck from the same company more than 10 times that day. He also reportedly admitted to cutting the security seal off the trailer.
Officers found that Sanghera had crossed into the United States more than 40 times so far this year. That, coupled with the amount of cocaine that was found Saturday, led officers to conclude he was part of an international drug trafficking organization.