3 men arrested after opium shipments found stuffed in water heater

Three men are facing drug trafficking charges after border services officers intercepted two shipments of opium that were heading to Toronto, police say.

According to an RCMP media release, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers in Mississauga discovered the shipments coming from Iraq on Aug. 22 and Sept. 1.

Police say the CBSA found over 40 kilograms of opium, which can be processed to make heroin. Photos provided by investigators show the opium stuffed inside a water heater. The packages were later turned over to the RCMP Toronto Airport Detachment, the news release reads.

Then on Sept. 5, RCMP officers went to a business in Mississauga where three men were found dismantling one of those shipments, investigators say.

Submitted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Police would not directly answer questions about how the shipments they intercepted made their way to the intended addresses, but Sgt. Penny Hermann said in an email that the RCMP "uses various technical investigative tools and methods to lawfully obtain evidence in order to protect Canadians and advance serious criminal investigations.

"We also work closely with our policing partners to provide support and advice on major investigative files," she said. "To maintain the integrity of investigations, we do not disclose specific techniques or tools used in the course of a particular investigation."

A 61-year-old man, a 48-year-old man and a 40-year-old man are now all facing a host of drug charges.

"The RCMP and the CBSA have once again demonstrated a successful outcome of their strong and effective partnership," said RCMP Inspector Barry Dolan, the officer in charge of the Toronto International Airport Detachment, in a statement.

"This cooperation is crucial in keeping illicit drugs off of the streets and keeping Canadians safe. This investigation shows that crime has no borders."