Former Canadian cop gets 8 years for smuggling cocaine

SEATTLE -- A former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for his role in what was called a "massive conspiracy" to smuggle cocaine into Canada.

Rapinder Singh Sidhu, a British Columbia resident, was indicted in 2011 and was extradited to the US in March 2013. The 46-year-old later pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to traffic "enormous quantities" of cocaine and marijuana into and out of Canada.

In all, 56 people were indicted as part of the investigation. The leader of the ring, Robert Shannon, was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison.

At his sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said Sidhu "desired to get money and be part of a major drug conspiracy and be of use to criminals."

Prosecutors say Sidhu quit his job as a mounted police officer and used his law enforcement knowledge to help the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and others import loads of cocaine into Canada. He also helped export large amounts of Canadian marijuana into the United States, according to prosecutors.

"This defendant betrayed his community and the law enforcement officers who risk their lives to keep us safe," U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a Friday news release.

When they took down the ring, investigators seized more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine and $3.5 million in currency.