The RCMP announced today an investigation that began in September 2020 and concluded this January uncovering a drug trafficking network shipping cannabis and cocaine to the Caribbean.
The investigation began when Canada Border Services Agency officers (CBSA) found large shipments of cannabis found in concealed false bottoms of wooden crates in the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Further investigation led to the execution of search warrants in three locations in Ajax, Toronto and Vaughan and five illegal shipments were intercepted before they could be exported from Canada. Approximately 43 kilograms of marijuana and over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine were seized in addition to different cutting agents, $130,695 in cash, a large quantity of ammunition, gun accessories including high capacity magazines, a stun gun and a stolen vehicle.
The investigation, called Project OALTO, was a joint operation between the RCMP, CBSA, York Regional Police, Toronto Police Service and Peel Regional Police.
In an unrelated incident, one Canadian couple was recently arrested trying to bring 93 kg of cannabis, 218 grams of hash and 8 kg of cocaine into Canada from Jamaica.
“Transnational organized crime groups continue to exploit opportunities to increase their influence, networks and profit even through a global pandemic,” said Inspector Barry Dolan, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Toronto Airport Detachment in a press release. “The illegal exportation of cannabis has been linked to the illegal importation of dangerous narcotics such as cocaine which is the primary illegal revenue tool of these groups.”
US border agents have seen a significant increase in cannabis seized at the Canadian border in the past year, as well. The US seized more than 70,000 lbs of cannabis at the border in 2020.