Blue Line

Two Sunwing employees among 11 arrested in drug trafficking probe: RCMP

July 29, 2019  By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Two Sunwing Airlines employees have been accused of smuggling drugs from various Caribbean countries into Canada in a drug-trafficking ring that RCMP allege operated out of Toronto’s Pearson airport.

The Mounties said Friday that raids conducted in the Greater Toronto Area earlier this week infiltrated several groups, including the airport operation, that allegedly trafficked cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs.

As a result, the Sunwing employees and nine others are facing more than 40 drug-related charges between them, investigators said.

The airline workers have been with the company several years and are charged with attempting to import cocaine and trafficking cocaine, RCMP said.

Sunwing said in a statement that the two employees have been suspended without pay “pending the completion of the legal proceedings.”

The airline also said the employees’ access to Sunwing offices and all other company and airport facilities has been revoked along with their security clearance.

“The safety and security of both our employees and our customers remains our main priority and we have offered our full co-operation to the RCMP to ensure that this matter was brought to a successful conclusion,” it said.

Pearson airport declined to comment.

Staff Sgt. Blair Fuhrman said the trafficking ring was an “ongoing enterprise” but police don’t know exactly how long it had been operating.

Fuhrman said illicit drugs were allegedly brought onto Sunwing planes in Carribbean countries and taken to Toronto. He said two of the airline’s employees then allegedly took the drugs off the aircraft at Pearson.

Fuhrman would not say what their positions were with Sunwing, but called them “long-term permanent employees.”

“The charge that is before the court is an attempted importation from Jamaica,” said Fuhrman.

RCMP worked with police in Jamaica and numerous southern Ontario police forces assisted in the investigation, which began in April 2018, the Mounties said.

Raids were conducted in Hamilton, Toronto, Durham, Brantford and Kitchener, and officers seized 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.3 kg of heroin, 30 kg of cannabis and 1 kg of meth, they said. Police also obtained $400,000 in cash and three vehicles.

They said those arrested are all from southern Ontario and range in age from 20 to 49. Two arrest warrants have also been issued.

The investigation is still ongoing and police said more charges could be laid.

– Alanna Rizza

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019

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