10/02/2013 12:45 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Mayor Rob Ford 'surprised' about charges against friend

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is "very surprised" to learn that one of his friends who also worked as an occasional driver for him is facing drug-related charges.

Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi, 35, was arrested on Tuesday evening, in connection with an investigation that saw police execute a search warrant at a dry-cleaning shop on Wincott Drive and Lisi's family home.

Police say Lisi faces a drug trafficking charge, as well as charges of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Jamshid Bahrami, 47, faces five charges in connection with the same investigation.

Lisi is a friend of Ford and has served as an occasional driver for the mayor.


Ford said Lisi was "a good guy and I don’t throw my friends under the bus."

The mayor said that Lisi was on the "straight and narrow," and he had never seem drink or use drugs.

"So, I’m surprised, I’m actually shocked," he said.

Ford also expressed frustration with the media on Wednesday, saying he did not like seeing reporters near his property.

"You know what bothers me is you guys coming to my house, my front door. That's pretty bad," he said.

"Don’t come to my front door again, I’d appreciate that. I don’t go to your front door, don’t go to my front door," Ford added.

It's the latest controversy involving the mayor.

In the spring, the Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip website Gawker both reported that someone had been shopping a video that allegedly showed the mayor using crack cocaine.

The Star has reported that Lisi had been searching for the alleged video.

3 years of controversy

The reports about the alleged drug video made headlines across the country and even became fodder for late-night talk-show hosts on U.S. television.

Ford, 44, was elected mayor three years ago, after serving as a city councillor in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.

During his time as mayor, Ford has often made headlines both for his work at Toronto City Hall and his life outside of it.

And aside from the recent questions about the alleged drug video, Ford has faced other high-profile challenges during his time in office.

Last year, a conflict-of-interest ruling nearly saw him removed from office, though Ford appealed a judge’s ruling and held onto his job.

The mayor also faced a defamation lawsuit that was eventually thrown out in court.