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Border guard accused of aiding traffickers

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    Border guard accused of aiding traffickers

    CBSA employee took money for allowing at least 12 large shipments of cocaine to enter B.C., indictment filed in U.S. says

    By Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun - July 3, 2009

    VANCOUVER - For the second time in less than two years, an employee of the Canada Border Services Agency is accused of misusing his position to help international drug traffickers smuggle cocaine into B.C.

    An arrest warrant for Jasbir Singh Grewal was issued in a Seattle courtroom two weeks ago, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

    Grewal is accused of allowing at least 12 large shipments of cocaine concealed in motor homes to cross into B.C. from Washington state.

    “Jasbir Singh Grewal, an employee of the Canada Border Services Agency, abused his position of trust and influence with the government of Canada by allowing the co-conspirators travelling by recreational vehicles to exit the United States through the Lynden/Aldergrove Port of Entry,” says the indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney.

    “Jasbir Singh Grewal was typically paid $50,000 for successfully smuggling each load of cocaine.”

    Another CBSA border guard, Baljinder Kandola, is due back in Surrey Provincial Court Aug. 19 after being charged in a similar smuggling case. Kandola faces counts of breach of trust and conspiracy to import cocaine and firearms after he was arrested in October 2007 along with others in B.C. and Washington.

    CBSA media officer Pennie Libby refused to say Friday whether Grewal was still on the job or has been suspended or fired.

    “The Privacy Act does not allow me to give out personal information about an employee,” Libby said, suggesting Grewal is still employed by the government agency.

    “The CBSA is cooperating fully with the criminal investigation. Allegations of improper or illegal behaviour by our staff are taken very seriously by the CBSA and are thoroughly investigated.”

    Libby said the CBSA is “working closely with the RCMP and U.S. authorities and will continue to collaborate in the criminal investigation.”

    According to court documents, Grewal and other “known and unknown conspirators, coordinated the timing of the entry of illegal shipments of cocaine to Canada with the co-conspirators driving the recreational vehicles to coincide with his employment schedule.”

    The court documents lay out in detail one of the shipments linked to Grewal.

    “In July 2007, Jasbir Singh Grewal was on duty at the Aldergrove point of entry. He was wearing his department-issued uniform in service of the Canada Border Services Agency. Jasbir Singh Grewal was told by telephone that a recreational vehicle containing cocaine was soon to approach the international border crossing. ...

    “The driver of the recreational vehicle was told to approach the crossing at a specific booth that was staffed by Jasbir Singh Grewal. The driver complied with his instruction and Jasbir Singh Grewal knowingly passed the vehicle containing the cocaine. ... In exchange for the vehicle to pass, Jasbir Singh Grewal was paid $50,000.”

    The U.S. Attorney also alleges that sometime prior to July 24, 2007, Grewal made arrangements with associates to import 270 kilos of cocaine.
    An RV was stopped in Orange County, Calif. on that date and searched by U.S. authorities.

    There is no reference in the Grewal court documents about whether the driver of the vehicle intercepted in California was charged or is cooperating in the case against Grewal. Nor are names provided of other “known conspirators.”

    In another cross-border drug case, Metro Vancouver’s Rob Shannon pleaded guilty to using motor homes and other vehicles to move millions of dollars worth of cocaine and marijuana back and forth across the border.
    The U.S. Attorney alleges Grewal earned an extra $600,000 U.S. in the last six months of 2007 alone.

    “Jasbir Singh Grewal failed to document the border crossings each time the recreational vehicle containing cocaine passed into Canada. He did so to avoid detection by law enforcement to his and his conspirators illegal activities."

    Grewal was indicted by a grand jury last November, but the court file was secret until April 2009 when the U.S. Attorney requested it unsealed.
    “Defendant is a fugitive. The government is preparing an extradition request to the Canadian government. Unsealing the court file will simplify the extradition process,” assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Cornell said in his application to open the file.

    An arrest warrant for Grewal was issued on June 19 by the U.S. District Court.

    No one from the U.S. Attorney’s office returned calls Friday.
    Libby said the CBSA takes appropriate action when employees break the law up to and including termination.

    The CBSA expects employees “to uphold the law in carrying out their duties,” she said. “CBSA has zero tolerance for any illegal or inappropriate actions.

    “All CBSA employees are subject to strict standards of conduct and any employee who violates these standards may face disciplinary action.”
    Libby said the public should still have confidence in border service agents despite the Grewal case.

    “The agency has confidence in the integrity, professionalism and vigilance of its border services officers,” she said. “This matter involved a single officer and these allegations do not in any way diminish our trust and confidence in the officers who protect our borders.”

    kbolan@{censored word, do not repeat.}

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
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