02/13/2012 04:44 EST | Updated 04/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Bob Paulson, RCMP Commissioner: International Drug Busts Something To Crow About


TORONTO - The top cop tasked with restoring confidence in Canada's national police force stepped up to the podium Monday to announce two large international drug seizures.

Arrests in cases involving a massive shipment of hashish and another large seizure of a substance used to make a date-rape drug highlight the RCMP's work in "gathering evidence, putting dope in the locker, catching crooks and putting them before the courts," said Commissioner Bob Paulson.

"That's the RCMP Canadians take pride in and that's the RCMP Canadians expect."

The international drug seizures have sent a clear message, he added.

"We recognize that our country is increasingly interconnected with the rest of the world and that we must look beyond our borders to where the threats originate," Paulson said.

"Through strong national and international partnerships, we will continue to go after these criminal elements wherever they are located."

Paulson took the reins of the RCMP last December amid a stormy period of upheaval and tension within the force, including allegations of sexual harassment. He has said infusing the RCMP with a renewed sense of accountability and leadership are his chief goals, along with restoring Canadians' confidence in the force.

On Monday, RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency said authorities were alerted last summer to a shipment of 5.7 tonnes of hashish destined to Toronto from Afghanistan.

The investigation led to the arrests of five men in Toronto and another in Europe.

The second case involved 2,900 litres of gamma-butyrolactone, or GBL.

Police say it originated in China and could have been used in the manufacture of 4.8 million doses of a date-rape drug.

The shipment, seized at Pearson International Airport on Jan. 25, was labelled kitchen grease remover.

RCMP in the Greater Toronto Area drug section charged three men with numerous offences.

“The importation of drugs in this quantity results in significant profits for criminal groups,” said assistant RCMP commissioner Stephen White.

“These drugs were destined for our communities across Canada.”