BRITISH COLUMBIA

Rapinder 'Rob' Singh Sidhu Went From Cop To Cocaine Smuggler

01/08/2014 03:22 EST | Updated 03/10/2014 05:59 EDT
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SEATTLE - A former Mountie who pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine across the Canada-U.S. border resented the RCMP so much that he turned to his previous adversaries in organized crime and sold them his specialized knowledge, court documents say.

Rapinder Singh Sidhu is expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday in Seattle.

U.S. District Attorney Jenny Durkan said in the pre-sentencing documents that Sidhu also contributed to the corruption of a fellow law enforcement officer who sabotaged his own career by becoming involved in the drug-smuggling scheme.

While Sidhu is accused of being a leader in the operation that began at an unknown time and ended in May 2008, Durkan said the ex-Mountie continues to blame others for his crimes and maintains he was merely a pawn in the operation run by others.

"Rapinder Singh Sidhu was a high-ranking member of a well-organized, long-running international conspiracy that was responsible for the transportation and exportation of enormous quantities of cocaine from the United States to Canada," Durkan said.

She said that when Sidhu, who was nicknamed Pony Tail, made the decision to become an international cocaine trafficker, he knew the harm he would cause and the risks he'd face if he were caught, unlike others he recruited as an underworld law enforcement adviser.

"He was specifically trained in investigating exactly the type of criminal he later became," Durkan said of the former RCMP investigator. "He used his special knowledge and skills, obtained through that privileged position, to earn for himself and his criminal associates large sums of money in the international cocaine trade."

Sidhu, who quit the RCMP in 2003 over "his perceived mistreatment," according Durkan, had an outstanding warrant issued against him in February 2012 for obstructing an officer in Montreal. The documents also say he was convicted of fraud in 2005.

The American case involves the seizure of two loads of cocaine — in July 2007 in Orange County, Calif., where 270 kilograms were hidden in a recreational vehicle, and 208 kilograms stashed inside luggage in a mini van in May 2008 in Everett Wash.

In the Everett seizure, a Canadian border inspector hired by Sidhu allowed the vehicle to enter British Columbia without inspection.

Durkan said the drivers of the California load received 12 years behind bars and that there's no justice in the six- to eight-year plea deal bargained for Sidhu.

"The United States has never conceded that a six-year sentence is appropriate and, indeed, believes that a sentence of eight years is the absolute minimum sentence that satisfies the law in light of the specific facts and circumstances of the case," she said, adding Sidhu should be supervised for four years following his release for being a leader, manager and supervisor of a border inspector and four drivers.

"Without Sidhu, there is no question that this conspiracy could not have successfully smuggled these hundreds and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine through the international border without detection," Durkan said.

Sidhu was indicted by a grand jury in August 2011 and arrested in Canada a year later before being extradited to the United States in March 2013, six months before he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export cocaine.

-- By Camille Bains in Vancouver --

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