News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Former Rcmp Member Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison For Leadership Of Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

Canadian Used Law Enforcement Knowledge in Smuggling Huge Loads of Cocaine and BC Bud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2014

            A former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight years in prison for his leadership role in a massive drug trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  RAPINDER SINGH SIDHU, 46, formerly of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, was indicted in August 2011 and was extradited to the U.S. in March 2013.  He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export cocaine in October 2013.  SIDHU is one of 56 people indicted as part of an international drug trafficking investigation.  The leader of the conspiracy, Robert Shannon, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in March 2009.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said SIDHU “desired to get money and be part of a major drug conspiracy and be of use to criminals.”

            “This defendant betrayed his community and the law enforcement officers who risk their lives to keep us safe,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “Mr. Sidhu recruited another public servant to the scheme, and used threats of violence to force others into criminal conduct.  His greed led him to become a trusted member of an organized crime conspiracy who sold his specialized knowledge from years in law enforcement.”

            According to records filed in the case, SIDHU left employment with the RCMP disgruntled about his treatment.  Before and during 2007 and 2008 SIDHU used his law enforcement knowledge to assist a criminal conspiracy allied with the Hells Angels to import large loads of cocaine into Canada and to smuggle B.C. Bud marijuana into the U.S.  SIDHU recruited a corrupt border services employee to help get the cocaine through customs check points and into Canada.  The investigation of the criminal ring resulted in the seizure of more than 1700 pounds of cocaine and $3.5 million in currency.

“From the start, this defendant has tried to downplay his role in the scheme,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle.  “However, it is hard to believe that a former police officer who exploited his police knowledge and contacts to profit from the drug trade, did not know exactly what he was doing.  HSI and our Canadian law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring the U.S.-Canada border is not a barrier to justice.  Criminals who think they can violate our border’s integrity with impunity, can and will be held accountable in a court of law.”

            In asking the court for an eight year prison term, prosecutors wrote SIDHU “organized and choreographed an entire cast of characters who moved enormous quantities of cocaine, with great success, thousands of miles.  Even more troubling, according to several of his co-conspirators, he exploited the violence of the criminal organizations with which he was allied to intimidate them and others into doing his bidding.”

            Two defendants in the case remain fugitives.  Sentences for 54 other defendants have ranged from 20 years for Shannon, and ten and eleven year sentences for some drug smugglers, to probation for some less culpable defendants. 

            This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. This investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with significant support from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force.

            This lengthy case was prosecuted by multiple attorneys including Assistant United States Attorney John Lulejian, now with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California and Special Assistant United States Attorney Adam Cornell, now with the Snohomish County Prosecutors Office.  Currently the case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel.

 

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