Pubdate: Fri, 07 Aug 2009
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


Officers at the Peace Bridge are being commended by the Minister of 
Public Safety after the largest-ever cocaine seizure in the 
Niagara-Fort Erie area.

The minister, Peter Van Loan, said the seizure of 167 kilograms of 
cocaine July 28 is part of the continued and ongoing successful fight 
of Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers.

"Preventing approximately 167 kilograms of cocaine from reaching our 
streets and our communities sends a strong message that this 
government is serious about cracking down on guns, drugs and gangs," he said.

The drugs were discovered by CBSA officers after they referred a 
23-year-old truck driver from Niagara Falls in for a secondary 
examination. Officers found packages of cocaine in four suitcases and 
one duffle bag during the offload examination. The contents tested 
positive for cocaine after a narcotics identification kit had been 

The truck driver was arrested and faces charges under the Controlled 
Drugs and Substances Act, for importing and possessing a controlled 
substance for the purpose of trafficking. The CBSA and RCMP 
investigations are still ongoing.

This latest seizure, with an estimated street value of over $20 
million, is the second time this summer CBSA officers at the Peace 
Bridge have received praise from the minister. On June 27, officers 
seized 20 kilos of cocaine, with a street value of over $2.7 million. 
One day prior to this seizure, CBSA officers at the Rainbow Bridge 
seized 6.6 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated street value of over $832,000.

"This significant cocaine seizure in the Niagara-Fort Erie Region can 
be attributed the excellent work and on going attention given to 
exams performed by our CBSA officers as well as the close working 
relationship with the RCMP to impede the flow of drugs across the 
border," said Jean D'Amelio Swyer, CBSA regional communications 
manager. Van Loan said the government has invested $102 million to 
help law enforcement over five years to combat the production and 
distribution of illegal drugs as part of the National Anti-Drug 
Strategy. Some of the strategies include introducing legislation to 
increase penalties for gang and organized crime related violence and 
drug trafficking, mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes, 
expansion of programs preventing youth from joining gangs and 
recruitment of new police and RCMP officers.

"This government recognizes that illegal drugs undermine the safety 
of our communities and fuel organized crime," he said. "We will 
continue to give our law enforcement the tools they need to be effective."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom