Video: Canadian Coke-Runner's Capture

By Will Godfrey 09/09/11

A major cocaine-smuggling operation into Canada is scuppered by a truck driver's body-language.

Bad body language can scupper the best-laid drug-running plans. A significant US-to-Canada smuggling operation was stopped in its tracks last September when border guards clocked the anxious appearance of a truck driver on the Lewiston-Queenston bridge over the Niagra River gorge. Agents found powder with a street-value of up to $12 million in his vehicle—the biggest bust in western New York state history. 30-year-old Canadian resident Ravinder Arora—who was paid $8,000 per smuggling trip and was subsequently "persuaded" to turn snitch as part of a plea bargain—has now confessed to smuggling around $64 million-worth of cocaine into Canada over the last two years in a federal court. The coke was hidden well enough in his truck to evade detection by sniffer dogs or X-rays, but suspicious agents persevered and found the stash in a compartment fitted under a false floor. "It was a very good concealment technique," said James T. Engleman, director of field operations for US Customs and Border Protection. "The officers followed their instincts." Apparently the traffic didn't just flow north—ecstasy, marijuana and dollars were brought into the US on Arora's return journeys. He will be sentenced in December and can expect at least 10 years' jail time. Two more defendants—one already held in the US and one facing extradition from Canada—are also in line for lengthy sentences.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.