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Truck driver who smuggled 80 kgs of cocaine into B.C. fled to India: police

Raj Mehmi was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison

Police are on the hunt for a Surrey truck driver who they say fled to India after being found guilty of smuggling 80 kilograms of cocaine into Canada.

Raj Kumar Mehmi, 60, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for importing and possessing cocaine, with the purpose of trafficking, after crossing into B.C. at the Pacific Highway port of entry.

Mehmi was found guilty in September 2022, but is still at large. A warrant is out for his arrest.

Police will hold a press conference later today (Wednesday, Dec. 13) to outline the investigation and ask for the public’s help in locating Mehmi.

Mehmi was arrested on Nov. 6, 2017. His truck was seized and 80 sealed bricks of cocaine were found inside the semi-trailer, according to a release from BC RCMP. At the time, the substance was valued at an estimated $3.2 million.

Truck driver Raj Kumar Mehmi fled to India while awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of smuggling cocaine across the Canada-U.S. border into B.C. He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison, according to the BC RCMP. (BC RCMP handout photo)

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Mehmi on Jan. 9, but he is said to have taken a flight from Vancouver to India on Oct. 11, 2022 and arrived in New Delhi the next day. While he failed to appear in court for the sentencing, the hearing proceeded without him on Sept. 15.

When arrested in 2017, Mehmi’s passport was seized by police, but he was able to successfully apply for a new passport afterwards.

“He did travel before and he always came back to Canada, he only left when he was found guilty,” BC RCMP Cpl. Arash Syed said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 13).

When asked why Mehmi was not determined to be a flight risk, Syed said he had no details of that process.

Due to the amount of cocaine that was seized from Mehmi’s truck, Syed said the drugs may be linked to organized crime but added that it could not be confirmed yet.

“On November 16, 2023, at the Surrey Provincial Court of BC, Honorable Judge Weatherly sentenced Mehmi in absentia, to 9 years of imprisonment for Importation of a Controlled Substance, Sec. 6 (1) CDSA; and 6 years of imprisonment for Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Sec. 5(2) CDSA,” reads a release from BC RCMP.

“Mehmi also received a lifetime ban on firearms, restricted, prohibited weapons, a Forfeiture Order, and DNA Order.”

A country-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Mehmi and a Red Notice has been sought to request law enforcement around the world to help locate Mehmi.

If Mehmi is seen, police advise to not approach him but instead contact the local police, or anonymously report the sighting to BC Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477.

More to come.

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Sobia Moman

About the Author: Sobia Moman

Sobia Moman is a news and features reporter with the Peace Arch News.
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