for $2.5 million worth of cocaine in Iowa
Iowa, Jul. 7, 2006
Two NRIs Sarabjit S. Chima and Kuldeep Singh Samra were arrested
in Iowa and about 24 pounds of cocaine seized along with a transport
truck registered to Equator Logistics Ltd. of Brampton. United
States transportation department officials announced drivers with
a Brampton-based trucking company were arrested Sunday as part
of a $2.5 million cocaine bust.
NRI Balwant Birk, owner of the trucking company Equator Logistics
Ltd., connecting the dots between the two is the hard part.
"I got a call two days ago from the police in Iowa telling
me that my truck is being held there," he said. "I was
told it was something about illegal drugs."
Birk had no idea that his truck had been seized after police
found 24 kilograms of cocaine in the vehicle.
Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer Richard Basset was working
the Dallas County scale near Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday when
two Ontario men were arrested.
"This vehicle came across out of Canada," Basset told
KCCI News in Iowa. "They acted like they hadn't been in the
area before because of the way they pulled on the scale and stuff."
The truck that was headed from California to Canada was inspected
at a highway weigh station on Interstate 80 eastbound between
the Van Meter and Waukee exits, just west of Des Moines. An Iowa
Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer
inspecting the cargo of canned tomato puree found a suitcase containing
the drugs on top of one of the pallets, said Capt. Ron Rumph with
Iowa's transportation department motor vehicle enforcement office.
The suitcase was not otherwise concealed, he said.
A field test indicated the substance in the suitcase was cocaine,
Rumph said. Drug seizures during these weigh-ins and random inspections
are not commonplace for officials in this part of the country,
"This is the largest one we've gotten in our department,"
Chima and Samra are charged with possession of a controlled substance
and failure to affix a drug stamp. They are being held in a Dallas
County jail on $139,750 bond each.