NEWS

Drug-filled fruit shipments lead to arrests

01/25/2012 12:54 EST | Updated 03/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Six people face drug charges in connection with smuggling cocaine and marijuana concealed inside of fruit into Canada.

The investigation began when border services officers discovered 19 kilograms of cocaine stuffed into hollowed-out pineapples in the port of Saint John, N.B.

The RCMP said the cocaine was seized from 80 pineapples scattered throughout the shipment. An initial investigation linked a Toronto-area address to the marine container.

Over the next four months Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP worked together to widen the investigation into Ontario.

Border officers in Windsor then intercepted two trucks, each carrying 115 kilos of marijuana packaged around watermelons.

The RCMP said that group arrested has ties to Jamaica, Guyana, Costa Rica and the United States.

"Drug dealers will stop at nothing to get their contraband into this country," Supt. Rick Penney, the RCMP’s drug enforcement commander in the Greater Toronto Area, said in a news release. "It is through this type of inter-agency co-operation that we can thoroughly investigate and dismantle organized criminal groups."

The six accused are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Wednesday for bail hearings. The RCMP have indicated warrants have been issued for additional suspects.

Canada Border Services Agency will be holding a media briefing on the cocaine-stuffed pineapples seizure Thursday morning in Saint John, spokeswoman Heidi MacDonald said.

Officials will provide details about that seizure and another similar seizure in recent months, she said.

RCMP and Saint John police officers are also expected to attend the event at the Canada Customs building on Prince William Street.

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