Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell, Crime Reporter
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


Toronto Officer Among 25 Arrests In Alleged Cross-Border Swaps Of B.C.
Pot For Cocaine

A Toronto police officer alleged to be "closely associated" with a
"sophisticated" Eastern European crime organization used his position
with the force to assist the group's North American drug-smuggling
activities, Chief Bill Blair said yesterday.

The 34-year-old constable was among 25 people arrested as part of a
multi-force investigation into a group that allegedly exported
B.C.-grown marijuana to the United States via Toronto in exchange for
cocaine distributed in Canada.

Const. Ioan-Florin (John) Floria was arrested after reporting for
traffic services duty yesterday.

The other accused, who are of Hungarian, Romanian and Algerian
descent, were taken into custody early yesterday morning when police
executed warrants in Toronto, Mississauga, York Region and British

Over eight months, investigators allegedly discovered Floria was
helping the traffickers by using other officers' badge numbers to run
criminal background checks, and passing on tips on how to avoid
detection, said Staff Insp. Don Campbell of the drug squad.

He also allegedly "withheld information and obstructed an
investigation into a kidnapping" that was threatened after police
seized a pot shipment during the investigation.

"I guess when it wasn't delivered, (the traffickers) got upset and
they were looking at the wrong people," Campbell said.

Supt. Christopher White said investigators stumbled across the
eight-year police veteran Floria interacting with members of the group
"and we did what we had to do -- we went out and arrested one of our
own, unfortunately."

The officer is suspended and will continue to be paid until resolution
of the charges as mandated under the Police Services Act, a practice
Blair has questioned.

Floria appeared in Scarborough court yesterday on multiple charges and
was released on bail.

His lawyer Andrew McKay said last night the officer "is stunned by the
allegations and is very anxious to have his case heard so he can clear
his name."
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