Indian man shot dead by suspected international drug cartel in Phuket

Mandeep Singh

Highlights

  • In 2016 Mandeep Singh was deported from Canada to India due to his involvement in the crime. Two years later, he was arrested by the DRI. Eleven others were also arrested. Approximately 308 kg of ketamine were seized.
  • Until March 2019, his bail was rejected by the High Court. Somehow he got bail. He fled India. He reached Phuket on a tourist route.
  • Indian law enforcement is contacting Thai security agencies investigating the murder which may be linked to the DRI’s 2018 ketamine seizure.

New Delhi: An Indian-born man who was deported from Canada in 2016 and then arrested two years later by the DRI in a drug case, was shot dead in Phuket last week. His escape from India and his murder raised eyebrows among law enforcement officials.

Last Friday, Mandeep Singh was shot dead by two unidentified assailants inside a villa he had rented in Phuket. His murder is suspected to be part of a complex web of drug busts in Goa and gang rivalry in British Columbia that dates back five years.

Born in Chennai in 1990, Mandeep Singh’s family immigrated to Canada when he was just 7 years old.

As soon as Mandeep arrived in his early twenties, he was caught up in gang rivalries. A scar on his cheek gave Singh a nickname of Jimi ‘Slice’ Sandhu and he easily entered the world of crime. Between 2010 and 2012, he was involved in several incidents of muggings and gang fights. In 2015, Abbotsford police issued a notification and warned the local public to stay away from Sandhu and his two other gang members for their alleged involvement in a crime.

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In front of the immigration hearing, Singh pleaded his case. He told them that he was now a changed man. Married now and left the world of crime. In December 2015, however, immigration authorities deported him to India.

Upon reaching India, Mandeep Singh used a new identity, he was now Jimmy Sandhu. He quickly set up a factory called Vijay Industries in Goa which was just ahead for the manufacture of psychotropic drugs Ketamine.

In June 2018, the Directorate of Tax Intelligence busted a pan-India ketamine racket and arrested 11 people, including 2 Britons and a Vietnamese national. Code name Operation Vitamin, DRI seized 308 kg of ketamine. Around 2000 kg of raw material was also seized, which was enough to manufacture 200 kg of ketamine.

“These individuals were key members of an international trade union that had strong ties to Southeast Asia and Canada,” said a press release issued by DRI then in June 2018.

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During searches in Goa, Jimmy escaped from Saipem Hills Candolim. He was then arrested in Panipat. Until March 2019, the Bombay High Court rejected Jimmy’s bail. But later he managed to get out of prison and then fled India. Arriving in Dubai, Sandhu had a new identity. A Canadian citizen, Mandeep Singh was born in Chennai. But on the driving license he was identified as Amarjeet Singh Sindu.

On January 27, he came on a tourist visa to Phuket. It is suspected that the Canadian passport could be a fake. The suspects who shot Mandeep fired ten rounds and spent cartridges were found at the scene.

Sources say they will contact law enforcement authorities in Thailand because in the ketamine seizure in 2018, a strong link between Canada and Southeast Asia was discovered.

Four years ago, when Sandhu was arrested, he was considered a “big trick” and part of an organized international narcotics racket. His escape to Dubai and brutal murder in Phuket could be part of an ongoing transnational drug-trafficking rivalry.