Drug arrests made in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia after bus depot seizures
The RCMP's Federal Intelligence Unit has made four arrests in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island after a three-month investigation into illegal drugs being transported by Maritime Bus vehicles.
The investigation was dubbed Operation Highspeed, and a news release issued this week said it involved the movement of drugs and related paraphernalia throughout the three Maritime provinces and Ontario.
"With COVID, the world changed a lot in how people move things," RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn said. "Individuals in the illegal drug trade are always trying new techniques or changing their operations so they can make it difficult for the police to catch them."
Specifically, Gunn mentioned "transit systems or couriers — not typical ways we used to see it in the past."
Three men and one woman arrested in mid-January have since been released pending court dates on a range of charges that include trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, and conspiracy to commit the indictable offence of trafficking a controlled substance.
One man and the woman are from Halifax, and were arrested at a bus depot there. The other two men are residents of Murray Harbour and Lower Montague on P.E.I., and Gunn said they were arrested at the bus depot in Charlottetown. Police are still looking for another suspect in Halifax.
Maritime Bus owner Mike Cassidy said most businesses that handle freight end up working with the police at some point.
"They had very, very strong evidence that a particular parcel on our bus on a particular day leaving Halifax, coming to Charlottetown, may contain drugs," he told CBC News when asked about the police operation at his Charlottetown depot in January.
"And we worked very closely with the RCMP on that particular day to make sure that we did what we were supposed to do."
Cassidy said his company was "just part of the big wheel" with regard to the operation, making sure the parcel was signed for properly by the party receiving it before officers moved in.
The initial arrests were followed by the execution of search warrants in both provinces.
Photos posted on the Nova Scotia RCMP Facebook page showed seized cash and drugs that included 1.3 kilogram of cocaine, 2 kilograms of MDMA, and about 4,000 psilocybin capsules, commonly known as magic mushrooms.
Gunn said the investigation continues.