RCMP, WRPS and CBSA Work Together to Combat Cocaine Importation

KITCHENER, ON, April 7, 2017 /CNW/ - A joint investigation involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Kitchener Detachment, Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has resulted in the seizure of 38.5 kilograms of cocaine.

Project OWING, as the investigation was named, commenced in the spring of 2016 and focused on the importation of cocaine into Canada from the USA via Commercial Motor vehicles, organized by a group of individuals from the Waterloo region.   Police allege that the accused were involved in the logistical side of the importation, arranging for the transportation of the cocaine through the USA and across the border and into Canada by hiding it in loads of legitimate cargo.

Charged with various offences including but not limited to, Importation into Canada of a Controlled Substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Conspiring to Import a Controlled Substance contrary to the CDSA thereby committing an offence contrary to section 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada are:

Mile VIGNJEVIC (male) (59) of Cambridge

Dimitrios PAPADAKIS (male) (34) of Kitchener

Thomas KAPOURANIS (male) (46) of Kitchener

Jadranko NESKOVIC (male) (53) of Kitchener

Marko TUFEDGZIC (male) (34) of Kitchener

Mihajlo VIGNJEVIC (male) (31) of Kitchener

Philip BOUTROUS (male) (42) of Leamington

Julie PANYADETH (female) (36) of Kitchener

David THIESSEN (male) (31) of Kitchener

Thanh Dinh NGUYEN (male) (30) of Toronto

Nghia NGUYEN (male) (42) of Kitchener

Andreas MARONITIS (male) (62) of Thornhill

Police executed a total of fourteen search warrants in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, Toronto, and Leamington. The investigation continues and more charges are anticipated.

"The importation of illicit drugs poses a significant threat to the health and safety of communities across the country and the RCMP along with our partners are steadfast in our determination to disrupt and dismantle these groups," said Superintendent Jamie Jagoe of the RCMP.  "The result of this investigation is another example of policing partners sharing resources and expertise to keep illegal drugs out of our communities."

"This is an example of the importance of police agencies collaborating to protect our communities," said Superintendent Pat Dietrich, Investigative Commander of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. "By working together, we have disrupted the drug trade and made a significant impact."

"I commend the CBSA and partner agencies in working together to keep our communities safe.   This collaboration demonstrates our effectiveness in stopping criminal organizations that attempt to smuggle prohibited goods into Canada and helps prevent illegal narcotics from reaching our streets."  – Mr. Rick Comerford, Regional Director General, Southern Ontario Region, Canada Border Services Agency

"What you see here today is not just thousands upon thousands of doses of a dangerous narcotic, but also the cause of countless instances of crime, violence, victimization, overdoses, and suffering in both the United States and Canada," said HSI Ottawa Attaché Melissa Ruiz. "HSI, the RCMP, as well as our other local, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners are united and committed to disrupting and dismantling the transnational criminal networks that exploit our borders to bring drugs and other dangerous items into our neighborhood and communities," added Ronald Marcell, assistant attaché at HSI Toronto

This project could not have come to its successful conclusion without the valued assistance of Waterloo Regional Police Service, Canada Border Service Agency, Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The accused will be making their first court appearance on Friday April 7, 2017 at the Waterloo Region Courthouse.

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information: For media inquiries contact: Cpl Louise SAVARD, RCMP Media Relations, RCMP "O" Division, 905-876-9709


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