A 27-year-old Abbotsford man is facing drug trafficking charges after police in Edmonton intercepted a shipment of cocaine that was allegedly concealed in a hidden compartment in his vehicle.
Rajwinder Singh Gandham was arrested by ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams) Edmonton on Feb. 26. The RCMP roving traffic unit assisted with the arrest, pulling over Gandham’s Jeep SUV as it was travelling into Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway.
Police say Gandham’s SUV was equipped with a hydraulic hidden compartment containing five kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $500,000.
He has now been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. His vehicle was seized and will be submitted for civil forfeiture.
Gandham has no prior criminal charges or convictions, according to the provincial court database.
ALERT began their investigation in November 2015 and included partnering with the Vancouver and Abbotsford police departments.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said Gandham is among the players in the Townline Hill conflict in west Abbotsford. The dispute involves two gangs battling over drug turf, resulting in several shootings and two murders, including that of innocent victim Ping Shun Ao, 74, who was struck on Sept. 2, 2015 by a stray bullet intended for a next-door neighbour.
MacDonald said police in Abbotsford have shared investigative information with authorities in Edmonton, and vice versa.
“Bad guys don’t have any jurisdictional boundaries,” MacDonald said of Gandham’s arrest in Edmonton. “They’re going where the money is, and they’re going to ply their trade anywhere and anyway they can.”
Staff Sgt. Pierre Blais of ALERT Edmonton said the investigation demonstrates the “borderless nature” of organized crime. He said such a matter is “very complex” and takes many resources.
“But in a short order, due to the assistance of all our police services – the RCMP, Abbotsford Police Department, Vancouver Police Department and the joint forces operation that we have here in ALERT – it really does give us the proper tools to effectively combat organized crime,” Blais said.
ALERT is funded by the Alberta government and includes members of police agencies in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, as well as the Alberta Sheriffs and RCMP.