DETROIT – A Canadian man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for his role in an international drug operation that flooded Metro Detroit with more than a million ecstasy pills.
Ecstasy, or molly, is very popular on the party and rave scene. It's also very dangerous. Federal officials said they saw a spike in the drug's use in Metro Detroit, so they went after the suppliers, which became difficult when they realized the operation was being run out of Windsor, in Ontario, Canada.
Ecstasy is a party drug, and too many young people are taking it. Its side effects include nausea, chills, sweating and blurred vision. Officials said one of the biggest dealers lives just across the boarder.
Mastermind arrested in Canada
To catch the mastermind, law enforcement officials had to cross the border into Canada, where the illegal operation was headquartered. Harpinder Sian will now face the music in the United States.
Sian's name first surfaced in a big illegal gun case in Canada, but his drug operation in Metro Detroit is what really outraged law enforcement officers.
"The government is really putting its foot down here and saying this behavior is not going to be tolerated, and they want this guy locked up so he can't do it again for a very, very long time," Local 4 legal expert Neil Rockind said.
Ecstasy has been a major problem in Michigan, and over a million of the pills made it from Canada illegally under Sian's direction. Federal officials said they caught him making phone calls that are smoking gun evidence of a major international drug operation and decided to bring him in.
The Canadian citizen's criminal operation had to be extinguished, police said.
"It shows you to what degree the federal government here really wanted this guy," Rockind said.
Federal officials said they wanted to send a strong message now that Sian is in the country. After the jury convicted him, prosecutors asked the judge to lock up Sian for 20 years and order him to pay a $2 million fine.
The argument was that Sian delivered more than 1 million pills and a million opportunities for children to be hurt from ecstasy.
But defense attorney Kim Stout argued that Sian has no criminal history and that he's now cooperating with authorities on other investigations.
The defense argued that ecstasy manufacturer Tu Ahn Bui should get the most time. He was sentenced to 15 years.
In the end, Judge Laurie Michelson sentenced Sian to 10 years in prison and two years of supervised release.
Canadian and U.S. officials in Detroit have an excellent working relationship. They said because of the close proximity, they need to work together to keep both communities and countries safe.