Alleged cross-border smuggling ring leads to dozens of arrests in Que., Ont.
Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016 1:13PM EDT
Provincial police in Quebec say approximately 60 people will be arrested in Quebec and Ontario by the end of the day, following an 18-month long investigation into an alleged tobacco and drug smuggling ring.
Capt. Frederick Gaudreau of the Surete du Quebec told CTV News Channel Wednesday that the investigation is one of the largest operations the police force conducted in recent years.
Police allege that the organized crime ring smuggled illegal tobacco and drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, across the U.S.-Canada border. The crime ring allegedly spans North America, South America and Europe.
The SQ said it seized 52,800 kg of tobacco worth $13.5 million as part of the ongoing raids. It is suspected that more than 2 million kg of tobacco was smuggled between August 2014 and March 2016.
Police also seized more than $1.5 million in Canadian cash and nearly $3 million in U.S. currency – money that was allegedly laundered. They also seized 836 kg of cocaine, 21 kg of methamphetamine, and 35 lb of marijuana.
The SQ worked with the Canadian Border Services Agency, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration in the U.S. and local police forces in 15 cities.
“It was a really important operation for us,” Gaudreau said.
More details are expected to be released once all the arrests are complete.
With files from CTV Montreal