03/24/2015 07:36 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT

Sandro Lisi, friend of former mayor Rob Ford, starts 4-day drug-trafficking trial

Former mayor Rob Ford's friend and occasional driver was scheduled to be in court to face drug trafficking and possession charges on Tuesday.

Alexander Lisi, better known as Sandro Lisi, was arrested after police used surveillance during an investigation into Ford and the infamous crack video.

Lisi, 36, faces several charges, including trafficking and possession of marijuana.

At the time of the drug arrest, Rob Ford, defended Lisi to reporters.

"He's, he's a friend. He's a good guy, and I don't throw my friends under the bus," said Ford.

"He's straight and narrow. I've never once seen the guy drink, never once seen the guy do drugs."

Last month on a radio talk show, Ford, now a city councillor, said he hadn't spoken to his friend in over a year.   

Lisi will face a four day, judge-only trial along with Jamshid Bahrami, the owner of a dry cleaning business where the pair was arrested.  

Lisi will return to court in April to continue a preliminary hearing on separate extortion charges for alleged attempts to retrieve the Ford crack video.

Earlier in March, Lisi was at a preliminary hearing into extortion charges.

The scandal over the video and subsequent other videos and other incidents thrust Ford into the international spotlight in May 2013. Ford was never charged with any crime related to his admitted drug use