Friday, November 9, 2007


Sudarshan Kandola is in disbelief that her son Baljinder Kandola, who the whole family was so proud of for being a Canada Border officer, faces six charges including importing cocaine and guns, breach of trust and bribery. "I don't know how he got involved in it. He was so protective about his job. He would tell his own brothers never to get on the wrong side of the law because that would reflect badly on him."
Sudarshan said that for her son, Canada Border job was a dream come true. "My son was so happy to get the job. He was on top of the world. He would always be very careful of who he is talking to and who he is meeting. My son was very cautious about his company too. He didn't want to mingle with the wrong kind of people. All this just to protect his job, because he was loyal and didn't want any stain on his uniform," Kandola added in Punjabi.
The 35-year old Surrey man, a six-year border services officer, was arrested late Thursday night and is accused of allowing two Richmond men with organized-crime links to enter Canada illegally, one with an SUV filled with $6 million in cocaine and three handguns. Shaminder Johal, 34, and Herman Riar, 26, were driving the two vehicles packed with contraband. The men allegedly used Kandola's border booth at the Pacific Highway truck crossing to enter Canada in similar-looking GMC Yukons. They were arrested a short distance away, after police determined Kandola had arranged "safe passage" for them.
The three accused appeared in the Surrey Provincial Court on Monday to fix a date for a bail hearing. Dressed in red jail uniform, Kandola entered the court room with his head held down. The other two accused, however, were seen whispering to each other and smiling. The court room was packed with family members - while some of them stayed composed, the others were heard sobbing.
Sudarshan Kandola said that no one in her family knew about her son's intentions. "No. Nobody in my family knew anything. We didn't know it until his arrest. We are a happy family and everyone is earning well. They are all doing well for themselves. We do not get involved in such things. I have five sons and all are happy with their lives." She also mentioned that her doesn't have any criminal record and was never involved in any illegal activity, "that's why when the police searched our home, they didn't find anything. Th police came with a search warrant immidiately after his arrest and there was nothing they found."
The Kandola family owns a clothes shop and a herbal store in Surrey. Sitting in the family store with one of her grandsons, Sudarshan explained what the family is going through. Shortly after, she starts to cry, followed by her grandson. "This is difficult for the family. Baljinder has a young son and he is very attached to his father. He keeps asking for his father. What do we tell him?"
"I still can't believe it. I feel this is just a nightmare and will get over soon. My son wasn't like this. He would tell others to keep away from drugs, gangs or anything illegal." Sudarshan Kandola said that her son is a baptised Sikh who prays every morning. "He was so happy. I feel somebody brainwashed him into it. There is nothing lacking in our family. His wife has a good paying job. I don't know how he got into it. Sometimes when i think of it I feel may be his mind just changed. The other times I feel this is destiny, it had to happen."