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Sikh truck driver flees to India after he gets 15 years’ jail for smuggling 80 kg cocaine in Canada

A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued against a 60-year-old Sikh truck driver in British Columbia province who fled to India after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking.

Raj Kumar Mehmi from Surrey was sentenced in November for smuggling 80 kg of cocaine into British Columbia, through the Canada-US Pacific Highway border crossing.

An Interpol Red Notice is being sought as a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest Mehmi, pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Wednesday.

Mehmi was initially arrested on November 6, 2017 by the British Columbia RCMP after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) discovered 80 sealed bricks of cocaine hidden inside a semi-trailer truck being driven, and owned by Mehmi.

At the time of this seizure, the bulk street value of the cocaine was estimated at $3.2 million.

Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), Mehmi was charged with Importation of a Controlled Substance, Section 6 (1) CDSA, and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking, Section 5 (2) CDSA.

On September 6, 2022, a Supreme Court Judge found Mehmi guilty on both charges, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for January 9, 2023.

On October 11, 2022, Mehmi fled to India after boarding a flight from Vancouver, and arrived in New Delhi the following day, the RCMP said.

Since Mehmi failed to appear for his sentencing hearing, an application to sentence him in absentia was filed, and subsequently granted on September 15, 2023.

On November 16, 2023, the Surrey Provincial Court of British Columbia sentenced Mehmi (in absentia) for importing drugs and for their possession.

Police said Mehmi’s Canadian passport was seized and turned over to Passport Canada at the time of his arrest.

However, due to the length of time between his arrest and conviction, he was able to legally obtain another passport through Passport Canada, which he ultimately used to flee, the CTV News reported, citing an RCMP spokesperson.

Describing Mehmi as approximately 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, police have urged people not to approach him and contact their local police agency.

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