10-year sentence in precedent-setting smuggling case

First trial judge said border guards should have warrants to search vehicles.

Nearly seven years after he was arrested, Ajitpal Singh Sekhon has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for trying to smuggle a large quantity of cocaine across the U.S. border into Canada in 2005.

Sekhon was found guilty last year on one count of importing a controlled substance and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

His sentencing on Friday (Nov. 25) marked an end to a lengthy legal battle that began when a Surrey judge threw out the charges in a controversial 2007 ruling that would have required Canadian border guards to get a warrant before searching any vehicles.

Sekhon was stopped at the Aldergrove border crossing on Jan. 25, 2005. One guard testified Sekhon was gripping the steering wheel tightly, his jaw rigid as he failed to make eye contact while being questioned.

Judge Ellen Gordon ruled the border guards’ inspection of the truck was unconstitutional because they needed reasonable grounds to obtain a warrant rather than acting on a hunch.

At the time, the union that represents border guards warned that traffic would grind to a halt if guards had to get warrants every time they wanted to search a vehicle.

The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that border guards do not need warrants, threw out Gordon’s decision and ordered a new trial.

Surrey Provincial Court Judge Paul Dohm convicted Sekhon after a second trial in October 2009. His sentence also includes a 10-year firearms prohibition.

– with files from Dan Ferguson

Just Posted

South Surrey’s A Rocha Canada named agriculture leader

Efforts celebrated during industry event at Surrey Arts Centre

Mathematician with White Rock roots named to Order of Canada

Robert Langlands honoured at order’s most prestigious level

Surrey sisters have been missing for two weeks

‘Both police and family are concerned for these youths’ health and well-being’

‘Neighbourhood parking’ discussion planned in White Rock

RVs on city street to be among issues explored: communications manager

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read

l -->