TORONTO - Border officials say they've seized more than 18 kilograms of suspected cocaine stashed in a bathroom at Toronto's Pearson airport.
The Canada Border Services Agency made the announcement Thursday, weeks after the June 17 discovery.
The agency says its officers noticed suspicious packages in the men's bathroom in the Terminal 3 customs inspection hall and found 16 plastic-wrapped parcels tucked into an overhang above the stalls.
It says preliminary testing suggests they hold cocaine but the Mounties, who have the packages, will send a sample to Health Canada to make a final determination.
RCMP spokeswoman Michele Paradis says officers also found a cellphone, batteries, a charging cord and a battery charger and that a forensic analysis is being done of the items for fingerprints and other possible clues.
Despite the need for lab testing, Paradis says the force is "99 per cent" sure the results will come back positive for cocaine.
"I can't see why somebody would put baby powder, for example, up in the ceiling top of the airport," she said.
She said no arrests have been made so far in the case.
A recently released intelligence report by the border services agency says cocaine continues to be smuggled into Canada in significant quantities by air, sea, land and by post.
Three factors that determine the quantity of cocaine smuggled into Canada are the global supply of the drug, the size of the domestic market and the degree to which Canada is used as a transhipment point for cocaine destined to other countries, says the August 2012 report, obtained under the Access to Information Act.
In Canada, the drug is primarily distributed from the lower mainland of British Columbia, Toronto and Montreal.
In 2011, the border agency seized 1.3 metric tonnes of cocaine.
Interceptions in the Toronto area accounted for almost 80 per cent of cocaine seized from smugglers trying to bring in the drug by air.
The vast majority of the air mode seizures was in the traveller stream. “This includes drug couriers as well as cocaine found concealed within commercial passenger aircraft,” says the heavily redacted report.
“Canadian Ports of Entry will continue to see cocaine smuggling threats in all modes.”
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported the packages were confirmed to contain cocaine.
Also on HuffPost:
Earlier this year, Colombia police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/19/drug-smuggling-pigeon_n_811044.html" target="_hplink">captured</a> a carrier pigeon trying to fly into a Bucarmanga jail with marijuana and cocaine paste strapped to its back. Carrying a package with 40 grams of marijuana and 5 grams of a paste containing cocaine, the bird -- which police believe had been trained by inmates or accomplices -- appeared to be unable to successfully clear the prison walls.
In 2009, Spanish police<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-06/justice/spain.leg.cast_1_cocaine-police-leg?_s=PM:CRIME" target="_hplink"> arrested</a> a man arriving at Barcelona's airport from Chile after determining that the cast on his fractured left leg was made of cocaine, CNN reported. The 66-year-old man had an actual fracture of two bones below the knee, but the police suspect that he, or accomplices, may have intentionally fractured it, so that the cocaine cast could be applied.
Perhaps they should call it a case of "Merry-Juana." A German man <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/marijuana-christmas-tree-_n_793946.html" target="_hplink">faced</a> drug possession charges after local police discovered a six-foot-tall marijuana plant in his home that had been decorated with twinkling Christmas lights in late 2010.
In 2006, CNN <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2006-02-01/world/drug.pups_1_heroin-seizures-puppies-dea-spokesman-rusty-payne?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">reported</a> that a two-year investigation into a Colombian heroin ring netted more than 65 pounds of drugs, resulted in the arrests of more than 20 people and saved the lives of some drug-smuggling Labrador retrievers. Ten wayward pups were found during a raid on a Colombian farm in 2005, and six of them were carrying more than 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of liquid heroin in their stomachs.
In 2009, the Mexican navy <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2009-06-17/world/mexico.drug.sharks_1_mexican-navy-cocaine-frozen?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">smelled</a> something fishy the southeastern port of Progreso, and their intuition paid off. When the inspectors zeroed in on a shipment of sharks, they found black bags containing rectangular packets filled with cocaine inside the frozen fish.
In 2006, a 25-year-old Australian woman was <a href="http://uneasysilence.com/archive/2006/06/6833/" target="_hplink">charged</a> with attempting to smuggle heroin into the country a week after she was found to be carrying 329 drug-filled condoms in her stomach. The woman was intercepted on suspicion she was carrying drugs internally by customs officers at Sydney airport as she came off a flight from Singapore.
In 2008, former England cricket player Chris Lewis was <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/09/chris-lewis-cocaine-drugs" target="_hplink">charged</a> with attempting to smuggle cocaine with a street value of more than 200,000 pounds into Britain. The 40-year-old was arrested along with an alleged accomplice on Dec. 8, 2008 after border control officers at London's Gatwick airport found four kilograms (nine pounds) of the illegal drug in liquid form in fruit tins in a baggage that had arrived from the Caribbean island of St Lucia.
In 2006, Texas police <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/9514444/detail.html" target="_hplink">reportedly</a> found about 168 grams of cocaine inside a can of Pringles. The cocaine was ingeniously made to look like the actual Pringles crisps.
In 1993, drug enforcement agents at Miami's airport<a href="http://www.elistmania.com/juice/10_creative_drug_smuggling_schemes/" target="_hplink"> reportedly</a> seized nearly 36 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in condoms and stuffed in Boa constrictors. The snakes had been imported from South America, and were still alive when they were found. There were over 312 snakes about 1.5 meters in length. The cocaine was actually found by mistake when one of the snakes appeared to have an abnormal bulge.