Two Ottawa police officers have been charged in an RCMP anti-corruption probe connected to what Ottawa police have called one of its largest single seizures of fentanyl.
RCMP announced Const. Haidar El Badry, 29, is charged with breach of trust, obstructing justice and causing a person to deal with a forged document. Const. Mohamed Mohamed, 45, has been charged with obstructing justice. Both were immediately suspended with pay. Ottawa police, to date, have suspended seven police officers in 2021.
The criminal charges against the two officers comes after a months-long anti-corruption probe that began when Ottawa police asked the Mounties to investigate a possible allegation of breach of trust connected to an ongoing city drug probe.
Charges connected to large fentanyl seizure
Ottawa police ultimately arrested and charged El Badry's brother Ameer El Badry, 23, after a raid at a Holmwood Avenue home on Thursday afternoon.
Police said they seized 1.4 kilograms of fentanyl. The younger El Badry is charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.
The RCMP investigation also yielded charges against two civilians: Ashley El Badry, 29, who is Haidar El Badry's wife and is charged with forgery and causing a person to deal with a forged document, and Mohamed Salameh, 29, who is charged with dealing with a forged document.
All arrests were made on Thursday but all of the accused were released on promises to appear with their first court dates scheduled for early September.
It's also the second RCMP anti-corruption probe that resulted in charges against Ottawa cops in a little more than a year. In April 2020, three Ottawa police officers were charged in an alleged tow-truck kickback scheme.
Both officers hired in 2018
Haidar El Badry was a former corrections officer and a graduate of Algonquin College's police foundations program. He is currently an Ottawa police patrol officer.
He made headlines in 2018 as a new recruit and OPS Hoopstars member, when the force shared videos of his "jobposal" - the public offer to him of an Ottawa police job. The Hoopstars are a basketball team, composed of officers and civilians, who act as an outreach to build bridges with the community. Currently, two of its former members are suspended and charged with serious misconduct. El Badry, who faces criminal charges, and Const. Kevin Benloss, who was named in a human rights complaint in which another constable alleged that he raped her. He faces charges under the Police Services Act.
According to police board documents, both El Badry and Mohamed have only been employees of the service for three years.
Mohamed was hired by the local force in June 2018 as an "experienced officer" or "direct entry," which means he previously worked at another police service. Prior to his arrest, he was a neighbourhood resource team officer in east division. El Badry was officially hired by the Ottawa Police Service in December 2018.
In 2020, according to province's public salary disclosure list, El Badry made $103,680.84, while Mohamed was paid $117,931.56.
Neither has any history of formal discipline but El Badry has been on the service's professional standards unit's radar for some time, according to police sources.
RCMP cautioned that the investigation remains ongoing.
"The RCMP are committed to ensuring the integrity of police internal investigations and work collaboratively with multiple partner agencies to ensure public safety and police accountability," said Chief Superintendent Matt Peggs, the criminal operations officer for RCMP's O Division.
In a statement, Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said: "There can be no tolerance of criminal behaviour or corrupt practice by members of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS). All OPS members have a duty to serve the community in an ethical, professional and lawful manner. Any OPS member who engages in criminal behaviour or corrupt practice will be fully investigated and prosecuted."
Sloly said that he knows "the charges laid today will shake public trust and harm the morale of our members. These charges are very serious but do not reflect the overall integrity of OPS members nor do they represent the OPS values."
He called the charges a " blow to ... good, hard working, caring OPS members" and to the public.
"We will continue to build a police service worthy of respect and trust – one that our members are proud of and that the community is confident in."