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Brampton, Ont., has become a hub for drug dealers

NRIs arrested for $2.5 million worth of cocaine in Iowa


Iowa, Jul. 7, 2006
Jay Gill

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, he added.

"This is the largest one we've gotten in our department," said Rumph.

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.






Kuldeep Singh Samra and Sarabjit Singh Chima of Brampton arrested for $2.5 million worth of cocaine in Iowa