An intercontinental investigation has netted 1,062 kilograms of pure cocaine, marking the single largest drug seizure in the history of the Ontario Provincial Police, authorities announced Monday.
Ontario Provincial Police display a wall of cocaine behind a podium at a press conference in Orillia, Ont., on August 28, 2017.
The OPP say three Toronto-area men were responsible for allegedly importing more than 1,000 kilograms of pure cocaine – found hidden inside stones – into Canada from Argentina.
The seizure was the result of Project HOPE, an intercontinental investigation involving the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) and Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau (POIB) in partnership with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Peel Regional Police, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Police allege the cocaine was transported in shipping containers to Montreal, and then sent to Ontario. The drugs were to be distributed in Ontario. “The distribution and sale cycle would see this cocaine cut many times for street-level dealers”.
A map showing the route and distance the cocaine was likely shipped.
Vaughan-resident Luis Enrique Karim-Altamirano, 52, was arrested during this traffic stop.
He remains in custody pending a bail hearing August 30.
Luis Enrique Karim-Altamirano, 52, of Vaughan was charged May 1 with importation of a controlled substance (cocaine), possession of a controlled substance for the objective of trafficking and drive while disqualified. He has been released on bail. He is also facing charges of importation and possession of controlled substances for the goal of trafficking.
Both Medina-Gatica and Orozco-Lomeli have been released on bail.
The next court appearances for Medina-Gatica and Orozco-Lomeli are not yet known.