Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced Tuesday that they had seized approximately 160 kilograms of cocaine discovered in buckets of frozen mango puree imported from Mexico.
Investigations led the police to a shipping container destined for the Port of Montréal, in the Canadian province of Québec. A CBSA officer at the Container Examination Centre in Montréal identified the suspect container. The drug was found in brick-shaped plastic wrapping of about 4 kilograms in weight each. There were 1,200 buckets of frozen mango puree in the shipment, not all with cocaine inside.
RCMP Sgt. André Potvin told reporters that the value of the shipment was significant and was the largest maritime port drug haul in the force’s history. At CA$20 per half-gram, “that’s in the vicinity of $38 million,” said Potvin.
The investigation by the RCMP Drug Section, CBSA Intelligence officers, the Marine Security Enforcement Team and the Port of Montréal Security Group, determined that an import company, named Quality Mexport, was allegedly a front for the drug-smuggling operation.
Five Mexicans, holding visitor status in Canada, were arrested in the matter. They are:
- Juan Manuel Huerta Canela, 31;
- Jose Gerardo Bernal Vasquez, 52;
- Jose Luis Navarro Ochoa, 33;
- Jesus Manuel Villa Quiroz, 32; and
- Alfonso Strag Estrada, age 50.
The suspects have been charged with importing and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The charges are allegations at this point in time.