By Mike Pearson, News staff
Two Stoney Creek residents face cocaine smuggling charges following a six month investigation by the RCMP and Hamilton police.
The RCMP Serious and Organized Crime Unit, South West District, has charged two Stoney Creek men with importing cocaine and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence on Thursday after more than five kilograms of the drug were seized by the Canada Border Services Agency at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
RCMP media relations officer Insp. Todd Gilmore said police have “cut the head off” a sophisticated cocaine smuggling operation. Police also executed search warrants at three Hamilton-area addresses, which uncovered marijuana grow ops.
“For this area, this organization was very active in importing and trafficking cocaine. They are now shut down,” Gilmore said.
One of the grow ops was found in a Stoney Creek basement not far from a school and right next door to a day care centre, Gilmore added.
“This is poorly wired, this is a fire hazard and this is dangerous for communities,” Gilmore said. “Kids are walking by, there was a day care next door, and this was a location where we found a processing facility. A school was right in front.”
Police also raided grow ops at a Hamilton Mountain and Waterdown address. Each site contained a marijuana processing operation.
Gilmore said the criminal organization used couriers who travelled to various South American organizations to access cocaine, and place it in luggage or other personal items. The drug was then smuggled aboard commercial aircraft bound for Canada.
Suspects hid the cocaine in checked luggage and in personal items like areosol cans in an effort to avoid detection.
Jorge Alejandro Rodriguez-Oliva, 29, and Nicolas Salciccioli, 25, from Stoney Creek, face charges along with Hamilton resident Edson Ariel Rosales, 40.
Waterdown resident Edina Kalmar, 29, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Gilmore said least two additional arrests are anticipated.
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.