Pubdate: Tue, 13 Mar 2018
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell
Page: GT2


Guns, gangs unit member has pleaded not guilty

A suspended Hamilton police officer fed drug traffickers sensitive
information and favours in return for cash payments, a Crown attorney
said Monday during his opening address to a Toronto jury.

Craig Ruthowsky, a former member of the Hamilton Police Service's guns
and gangs unit, has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice,
bribery, breach of trust, trafficking and conspiracy to commit an
indictable offence.

He became ensnared in a Toronto Police Service wiretap investigation
called Project Pharaoh aimed at gathering evidence of drug and firearm
trafficking in Toronto's west end, Crown attorney John Pollard said in
Superior Court.

The information he allegedly supplied to drug dealers included times
and locations of pending search warrants, the identity of confidential
informants, the working hours of certain police units and covert
investigative techniques, Pollard said during his nearly hour-long,
detailed summary of the expected evidence.

That shared intelligence "allowed those who were party to the scheme
to evade detection and prosecution," Pollard said. "It made them
better, more effective, drug traffickers."

The prosecution alleges Ruthowsky's conduct "compromised police
investigations both big and small, from roadside traffic stops to
large, sprawling, wiretap-based projects." In so doing, "Ruthowsky
breached his statutory duties under the Police Services Act, duties
that require him to investigate diligently and prevent the commission
of criminal offences, as well as his duty to apprehend those
responsible," Pollard said.

The Crown also alleges Ruthowsky participated in two separate
drug-trafficking schemes, in one instance by allegedly letting a drug
trafficker enter a marijuana grow operation and leave with half of a

Ruthowsky also participated in cocaine trafficking by taking an
unknown cutting agent to a private lab for identification, Pollard
said. The identification allowed the dealer to obtain the agent at
substantial cost saving, allowing him to turn a greater profit, he

The Crown's main witness, a Hamilton-based drug dealer, will testify
that he negotiated the terms of the cash-for-protection scheme and
made monthly payments to Ruthowsky. His identity is protected under a
provisional, courtordered publication ban.

He will testify Ruthowsky agreed to supply inside police information
in return for cash, Pollard said. Other criminals also looking for
police protection agreed to chip in on the scheme, and together they
pulled together $20,000 for monthly payments, Pollard said.

The Crown will tender evidence that the Ruthowsky family's net worth
in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 grew by at least $25,000 each year
because of unknown sources of income, the Crown said.
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