04/21/2015 02:10 EDT | Updated 07/13/2015 06:59 EDT

RCMP tie series of cocaine busts to cartels in Columbia and Mexico

HALIFAX - The RCMP says it has laid multiple charges against people in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia after a two-year drug trafficking investigation with ties to Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.

The Mounties say they began their investigation in the spring of 2013 and uncovered eight conspiracies to import cocaine into Canada from a number of countries including Antigua, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and the United States.

During its investigation the RCMP says it seized vehicles, firearms, drug paraphernalia, cash and more than 200 kilograms of cocaine.

Fifteen people ranging in age from 28 to 69 are facing 45 charges including conspiracy to import cocaine and trafficking cocaine.

The RCMP says among those charged are 33-year-old Ryan James Wedding, a former Olympic snowboarder who lives in Montreal.

RCMP Cpl. Angela Corscadden says an employee of National Defence and another with the coast guard are also facing charges, but she wouldn't say whether their professions had any bearing on the alleged conspiracy.

All of the accused are from Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Greenwood, N.S., and the Ontario communities of Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Maple.