CBSA finds cocaine in shipping container

by Array

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia—A joint operation between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Policed (RCMP) has resulted in the seizure of over 50kg of cocaine and the arrest of two people.

According to the CBSA, while X-raying a shipping container that had arrived the Port of Halifax from Panama, officers noticed what they called “anamolies” in the images. When the container was inspected, CBSA officials found tire changes and balancers destined for shipment to Ontario, and 40 bricks of cocaine weighing 53.5kg.

Upon seizure, the narcotics were turned over to the National Ports Enforcement Team (NPET), which is comprised of the CBSA, RCMP and Halifax Regional Police.

From that point, the investigation took the RCMP from Nova Scotia to Ontario, where officers conducted an operation in Vaughan and executed three search warrants. As a result of the investigation, charges have been laid against two people.

Richard Avanes and Salvatore Formusa both of Toronto, Ontario, have been charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking a controlled substance.

“This significant seizure demonstrates the excellent work of our border services officers,” said Andrew LeFrank, regional director general, CBSA Atlantic Region. “It also illustrates that working together with the RCMP and municipal police forces in an integrated law enforcement approach is the most effective way of preventing illegal drugs from entering Canada and getting on our streets.”