CALGARY — Alberta border officers say they have made their largest seizure of methamphetamine at a crossing into Canada from Montana.
Agents stopped a semi-truck with an empty trailer for a secondary screening at the Coutts crossing southeast of Lethbridge just after 5 p.m. on Sunday, said Guy Rook, the Canada Border Services Agency’s southern Alberta director.
Officers searched the truck’s cab and found a box and a large black duffel bag containing 33 bags of white crystals that turned out to be meth. In all, there were 50 kilograms of the drug that, if street-ready, police estimate would have been enough for 500,000 hits and worth $3 million.
“This is the largest seizure of methamphetamine the CBSA has had in Alberta,” Rook told reporters at the Calgary International Airport on Thursday.
“While every amount seized reduces the harm of it in our communities, this large amount is worth telling about, then steeling our resolve to keep it off the streets of Canada.”
Some of the bags, each weighing 1.5 kilograms, were dusted with a reddish-orange powder when they were discovered. Rook said it’s believed that substance is a spice, potentially meant to throw sniffer dogs off the scent.
“One could speculate it had something to do with that, but that’s inconclusive and it forms part of the investigation,” Rook said.
The border agency called in the RCMP’s border enforcement team.
“Our first priority is always the safety and security of the citizens that we serve,” said Insp. Charlene O’Neill, one of the officers in charge of the RCMP’s serious and organized crime units in southern Alberta
“We know that crime has no borders and it’s imperative that we continue to work with our partners like CBSA to share information and co-ordinate enforcement action as needed.”
Charges have been laid
Forty-year-old Asif Mir of Calgary has been charged with importing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
He had a bail hearing scheduled in Lethbridge Provincial Court on Thursday.
O’Neill said the RCMP would be working with authorities in the United States or any other countries that might be pertinent.
Mounties aren’t saying whether Mir has any known ties to organized crime or was previously known to police.
“This is a substantial amount of methamphetamine, however,” O’Neill said.
“So it’s certainly one of the areas one of the investigators will be looking at, whether there’s other people involved, whether organized crime is involved.”