|Ecstasy pills. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
Six people have been charged with importing cocaine into Canada and exporting ecstasy to the U.S.
Police made the announcement Friday, saying that the charges follow a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) investigation that spanned B.C., California, Mexico and Peru.
The investigation, dubbed E-Pistology, was launched four years back after the U.S.-based Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informed police that Canadian and American-based citizens were using a sophisticated system of encrypted smartphones to communicate and organize drug transactions on an international scale, CFSEU-BC spokesman Sgt. Ghalib Bhayani said in a statement.
He says the investigation "revealed that a number of the accused travelled extensively throughout North and South America, conspiring to buy cocaine and importing it into Canada and then exporting ecstasy into the U.S."
A number of seizures took place beginning on August 21, 2008 when 23 kg of ecstasy pills were seized in Princeton, B.C. On December 20, 2008, another 121 kg of cocaine were seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. A few days later, on December 24, a further 97 kg of cocaine hidden inside a commercial transport truck carrying bananas were also seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. In May 2009, another 10 kg of cocaine were seized in Burnaby.
“We took a significant amount of drugs off the streets during this investigation. The cocaine alone represents a street value (per gram) of over $17 million,” Bhayani said.
Police say that searches of homes across B.C. resulted in the seizure of several prohibited firearms including a 357 Magnum revolver, a 38 calibre semi-automatic pistol and a 40 calibre semi-automatic pistol.
Bhayani said that one of the six, Khamla Wong, is at large and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.