Canadian Man Sentenced in Case Involving Largest Seizure of Cocaine in District History
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ravinder Arora, 33, a resident of Canada, who was convicted of conspiracy to export five kilograms or more of cocaine from the United States into Canada, was sentenced to 84 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The case involved the seizure of 100 kilograms of cocaine - believed to be the largest narcotics seizure in the history of the Western District of New York.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that on September 8, 2010, the defendant attempted to cross the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge from the United States into Canada. An outbound inspection of Arora's tractor-trailer revealed a hidden compartment underneath the floor. In the hidden compartment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers and Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations found approximately 97 kilograms of cocaine. The defendant admitted to making at least four additional smuggling trips between the United States and Canada.
During the course of the conspiracy, the defendant and other individuals utilized a warehouse on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, N.Y., to conceal their narcotics trafficking operation. More specifically, the conspirators loaded and unloaded legitimate cargo (cardboard boxes, Styrofoam packaging material) into tractor-trailers, so as to further conceal the cocaine contained within the false floors of the conveyances. The hidden compartment was also used by members of the conspiracy to smuggle marijuana and ecstacy into the United States, as well as United States currency. The conspiracy trafficked over 1,600 kilograms of cocaine into Canada during its operation, in addition to the marijuana and ecstasy which was smuggled into the United States via the international bridges located in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
Co-defendants Michael Bagri and Parminder Sidhu have been convicted of similar charges and are awaiting sentencing.The plea is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero, Officers from the United States Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Randy Howe, Director of Field Operations, the Peel Regional Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jennifer Evans, the Canada Border Services Agency, under the direction of Rick Comerford, Regional Director General, Southern Ontario Region and the Toronto Police, under the direction of Chief William Blair.