HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html More Than One Border Guard Involved In Drug Ring
Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jul 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Paul Cherry, Canwest News Service
Bookmark: (Corruption - Outside U.S.)


Affidavit Refers To 'Corrupt' Official In New Brunswick

More questions are being raised about Canada's border security as 
additional details surface about a drug trafficking ring that gives 
new meaning to free trade.

Court documents filed in the United States about a drug trafficking 
ring that was recently broken up in Montreal suggest the ring had 
more than one Canadian border guard within its fold.

On Thursday, the RCMP announced the arrests of seven people, 
including James Munro, a 26-year-old border guard employed by the 
Canadian Border Services Agency at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing.

Munro was the only CBSA employee arrested in an investigation that 
centred on an attempt by people in Montreal and New Brunswick to 
smuggle 500 kilograms of Colombian cocaine into Canada. Mr. Munro 
appeared in court yesterday at St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., for a 
bail hearing. He will learn on Tuesday if he is to be released while 
he faces eight criminal charges.

Two Quebecers who allegedly took part in the conspiracy were arrested 
in Florida on Tuesday and charged with bringing 25,000 MDMA, or 
ecstasy, pills into the U.S. as part of a deal made with an 
undercover FBI agent.

The two men -- alleged ringleader Sylvain Levert, 41, of Chambly, and 
Serge (Frenchy) Desilets, 54, of Maniwaki -- were charged in U.S. 
District Court in Florida. Affidavits filed in their cases suggest 
the pair counted on the co-operation of more than one customs agent 
to smuggle drugs in and out of Canada.

The two are suspected of conspiring to smuggle drugs -- including 
marijuana and ecstasy -- into the U.S. in exchange for cocaine 
smuggled into Canada.

According to one affidavit, Mr. Desilets was introduced to the 
undercover agent in May 2007, after a Florida man caught with 11 
kilograms of marijuana decided to co-operate with authorities by 
revealing his supplier. By Aug. 7, 2007, Mr. Desilets told the 
undercover agent he felt comfortable enough to do business with him 
and was willing to sell him large quantities of hydroponic marijuana 
grown in Canada.

In one of several references in the affidavit to Mr. Desilets or Mr. 
Levert claiming to control border agents, Mr. Desilets allegedly told 
the undercover agent last summer "he could get people into and out of 
Canada without their having to pass through customs."

During their first face-to-face meeting in Vermont on Oct. 11, 2007, 
the undercover agent and Mr. Desilets discussed trading more than 400 
kilograms of marijuana grown in Canada for 150 kilograms of cocaine 
from the U.S.

"Desilets advised that his organization utilizes a customs border 
agent to assist their smuggling operation," the affidavit says.

Five days later, Mr. Desilets wanted to renegotiate the ratio of 
drugs to be traded with the undercover agent. According to the 
affidavit, during the same conversation, they also discussed: "the 
corrupt customs border official in New Brunswick."

The "border official" in question is not named in the court document.

During Thursday's news conference, RCMP Staff Sgt. Andre Potvin would 
only say it was possible other border agents would be investigated. 
Yesterday, RCMP Cpl. Elaine Lavergne repeated Staff Sgt. Potvin's 
comment, but noted no charges had been filed against other CBSA personnel.
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