Two truckers who worked for the same Canadian carrier face federal drug charges in the U.S. after they were arrested four months apart in connection with seizures in Michigan of cocaine and methamphetamine worth millions of dollars, court records show.
Prabhjot Singh was arrested on March 15 after Michigan State Police officers found 142 kilograms of cocaine during a search at a commercial vehicle inspection area off I-94 in Jackson County, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan. The cocaine would be worth $7 million in Toronto, Brian Manns, Homeland Security Investigations special agent, wrote in the complaint.
Though officers stopped Singh after observing multiple state Department of Transportation violations, federal agents had already been scrutinizing him as part of an investigation into a colleague who worked for the same carrier, the complaint states. The names of the other driver and the company were not disclosed in the filing.
HSI agents arrested that driver in November after 150 kilos of meth was found concealed in a trailer in Detroit, according to the complaint.
As part of the investigation, HSI agents concluded that Singh had transported the meth from California to Michigan and had met the driver within a day of his arrest, according to the complaint.
Singh and his colleague were the only two truckers registered at the Canadian carrier, according to the complaint. The colleague has been detained since his arrest and is awaiting trial.
Carrier was out of service at time of trucker’s arrest
A week before his arrest, on March 8, Singh crossed into the U.S. with a commercial shipment headed to California. He was still working for the company even though it had been listed as out of service with the U.S. Department of Transportation as of Feb. 6, according to the complaint.
After Singh encountered Michigan State Police officers during a commercial inspection on March 15, he “started exhibiting signs of extreme nervousness as he was questioned about his commercial truck and the contents of his trailer,” the complaint states.
He told officers that he sealed the trailer after picking up a shipment in California. However, Manns, the HSI agent, wrote that the trailer did not have a seal upon inspection.
Inside the trailer, officers found 142 1-kilogram bricks of cocaine packed in three duffel bags, Manns stated.
Singh agreed to speak to federal agents without an attorney present, according to the complaint. He told investigators that he knew and had met the other truck driver before their arrest, the complaint states.
It’s unclear whether Singh said anything to investigators about the cocaine found in the trailer. He was subsequently charged with possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine,
On March 18, a judge ordered Singh to be detained pending trial. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May.
Singh’s lawyer did not respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.
Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak