Cops smash huge Canuck cocaine ring
CALGARY -- Police say they busted a cocaine kingpin and smashed his drug ring that had tentacles reaching across Canada, supplying massive amounts of drugs to several street gangs.
Investigators say nine suspected drug traffickers, including the group's head, were arrested following a year-long investigation by the Calgary Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).
Insp. Kevin Forsen, officer in charge of CFSEU, told reporters the drug ring operated from Vancouver to Newfoundland.
Forsen said drug traffickers have become more sophisticated in carrying out their crimes.
In this case, most of the cocaine bags were hidden in a secret compartment secured by a magnetic lock in the front dash of a Ford truck.
Investigators found a way to get into the stash with a magnetic tool that triggered the lock to come undone, Forsen said.
"I think a lot of the time the public expects it's fairly rudimentary, tucked under the seats or floor mats," he said.
"Without the expertise of the investigators, we wouldn't have found this because (the secret compartment) was professionally done."
Police seized 11 kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1.5 million.
The amount of confiscated drugs translates into about 33,000 individual doses of cocaine taken off the streets, cops said.
When the bags of cocaine were transported to Canada, they were put inside another bag with ground cayenne peppers to avoid detection.
Then, a small package with cocaine samples was attached in each bag for buyers to test.
Solicitor General Fred Lindsay said the bust "strikes a blow to organized crime in our province."
Investigations like this demonstrate the effectiveness of integrated policing as modelled by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), he said.
Forsen said the arrests will hinder the criminal activities of city gangs who were once supplied by the drug ring.
"No doubt this will ultimately help to reduce the level of violence ... throughout the province," he said.
It took police about a year to successfully put together the case and yesterday they charged the suspects.
A total of 57 drug-related charges were slapped against nine people, including Ryan Harper, 31, of Calgary, who is facing 26 charges
Also charged are Jeremy Lorenowicz, 29, of Calgary, Joshua Lorenowicz, 23, of Calgary, Jeffery Donaldson, 24, of Calgary, Matthew Earles, 23, of Red Deer, Brent Cyr, 21, of Red Deer, Cameron O'Connell, 20, of Red Deer, Nicholas Soto, 27, of Calgary, and Reade Wilkinson, 28, of Lethbridge.
By RENATO GANDIA, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: 22nd October 2009, 2:00am
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