Convicted cocaine smuggler Shminder Johal was not the leader of a sophisticated cross-border smuggling ring and should serve no more than 15 years in jail, his lawyer argued Tuesday.
Danny Markovitz said it would be unfair to impose a term of 20 years - the sentence called for by prosecutor James Torrance - on Johal, 38.
"It would ruin the lives of his children, his wife, his parents," he told Justice Selwyn Romilly at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Romilly convicted Johal and former Canada Ser-vices Border Agency guard Baljinder Kandola of importing more than 200 kilograms of cocaine in 2007 and being part of a smuggling conspiracy that involved other shipments.
Torrance argued for a sentence at "the upper end of the range" given the scale and sophistication of the operation and because it involved compromising the border.
But Markovitz said previous importation sentences in B.C. have been in the six-to 10-year range. And he said it wouldn't be fair to go as high as the Crown suggested for his client, a Richmond businessman who owns a limousine company.
He argued for a term of 12 to 15 years instead.
"There is someone obviously higher up than Mr. Johal," Markovitz said.
Romilly reserved his ruling on the sentences until Friday, when Johal and Kandola will be taken into custody.
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