Authorities in an unspecified part of Colombia pose with seized cocaine, according to the RCMP. (Supplied by the RCMP)
RCMP say they and their partners stopped an Ottawa-based organized crime group from importing 52 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia that could have been sold for about $1.5 million.
In a news release Tuesday, RCMP said four people from Ottawa have been arrested and charged with five drug and firearm charges each after officers searched a property near the city in November. It's there that the group stored drugs, RCMP allege.
In a followup email to CBC News, Insp. Islam Issa from the RCMP's serious and organized crime unit said the address is in rural south Ottawa and described it as a large, multi-use property, "residential with a large industrial outbuilding suitable for commercial use."
Issa said he couldn't disclose the name of the business the shipment was headed to, but said it was a local Ottawa-based business.
The organized crime group had connections to the international drug trade, specifically in regions of South America, Issa added.
"If criminals believe they can hide by going to other jurisdictions or countries we can tell you this; we regularly partner with domestic, national and international partners to share information and conduct joint investigations that transcend international borders," Issa wrote in the email.
An RCMP transnational serious and organized crime team was part of a multi-agency partnership they say 'dismantled' an Ottawa organized crime group, seizing drugs and guns in the process. (Supplied by the RCMP)
Investigation began in summer
RCMP said the investigation began in August when Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers in New Brunswick "identified a Canadian business suspected of using sea containers to smuggle drugs from Colombia to Canada."
In October, investigators learned from authorities in Colombia that they had seized 38 kilograms of cocaine from a container bound for a business in the Ottawa area, and that a second container was on its way to the same location.
That second container was found in Saint John in late October, and with the aid of a CBSA search dog investigators found and seized the remaining 14 kilograms of cocaine.
"From there, the RCMP began tracking the container through eastern Canada," leading investigators to the property near Ottawa where they turned up two prohibited firearms and a bulletproof vest, according to the news release.
It's not clear when the four suspects were arrested. The accused, who range in age from 31 to 48, are being held in custody until their next court appearance on Dec. 15.
Ottawa police helped with the search warrant, according to the news release, while "many RCMP units in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," as well as CBSA officers in northern Ontario and abroad, also played a role in the seizure.