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Canada: Cocaine worth $4 million found in bean cans

The Canada Border Services Agency in Halifax says its officers seized 32 kilograms of cocaine after finding the drugs hidden in a shipment of beans from Cartagena, Colombia. Two men from the Montreal area face charges. Border officials say they found the drugs in 122 cans with false bottoms during a routine container search on Sept. 1. Dominic Mallette, the agency’s chief of operations in Nova Scotia, said though Colombia is known for drug exporting, it wasn’t the reason for the search. “We do often target for those countries, but in this case we were not necessarily targeting for the fact that it was coming from there,” Mallette said. “It just happened to be a good random examination.” He said thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, officials were able to see that the contents of some of the cans were more dense than they should’ve been, had they been carrying beans.

“They put in the cocaine in there and put a false bottom to close it and [then] put some sand in there.” The cans were in a shipment destined for a legitimate food importer in Saint-Jerome, Quebec. Border officials called RCMP and an investigation was launched. Federal officials estimate the drugs are worth $4 million on the street — which Mallette said is about average for the size of seizures the Port of Halifax sees.
He estimated the seizures happen four to five times a year. “I wish it was every day, but it’s not,” he said. The names of the men charged have not been released.


Publication date: 10/4/2011


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