The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are committed to keeping harmful substances out of Canadian communities.
In early January 2022, more than 1.5 tonnes of cocaine was seized by border services officers in Saint John, New Brunswick (NB), following a sophisticated drug smuggling investigation by the CBSA and RCMP. The narcotics were discovered concealed inside the cargo of a marine container; this represents the largest quantity of cocaine seized from a marine shipping container in Atlantic Canada in three decades. The CBSA has valued the seizure at approximately $198,000,000.
The operation began in the fall of 2021, when CBSA Intelligence received information about exported shipments originating from Central America. At that time, the CBSA and the RCMP worked together to move the investigation forward.
In December 2021, CBSA began tracking a marine shipping container of interest which contained goods imported by a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) resident and exported from Central America, with a final destination of Saint John, NB.
On January 7, 2022, the shipping container was examined at the Port of Saint John, NB, where border services officers initiated a complex and lengthy examination, which led to the seizure of the significant amount of cocaine found concealed inside the container. All evidence was turned over to the RCMP for further investigation.
On January 27, 2022, Ontario RCMP Federal Policing executed a search warrant in Brantford, Ontario, with assistance from the CBSA, Brantford Police Service, and several area municipal police services. Six people were arrested at the scene, five were released with no charges pending.
On January 28, 2022, Kyle Alexander Purvis (34) of Brantford, Ontario, appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice. Purvis was charged with importing a controlled substance into Canada and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. He was released under strict conditions, including electronic monitoring, pending a court appearance on March 3, 2022. The investigation is ongoing.
The success of this operation can be attributed to the outstanding collaboration of multiple CBSA units, including teams in GTA Region, Atlantic Region and International Operations Division, as well as the RCMP in both Ontario and New Brunswick.
In support of the search warrants and arrests on January 27, 2022, the CBSA and RCMP would like to recognize the efforts and collaboration of the Brantford Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Hamilton Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, and Durham Regional Police.
"The safety and security of Canadians is our government's top priority. I want to thank the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and regional law enforcement agencies who together disrupt criminal activity, protect Canadians and their families from the harmful impacts of drug smuggling, and ensure the integrity of our border."
The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
"Canada Border Services Agency employees are committed to detecting and intercepting contraband goods at the border. This seizure is a great example of how our officers in Canada and around the world work closely with our law enforcement partners to share intelligence, prevent illicit drugs from entering Canada, and protect our communities. I am extremely proud of our employees for their continued dedication to this important work."
John Ossowski, President, Canada Border Services Agency
"This is a great example of RCMP Federal policing's effective joint work with its partners. Our Transnational Serious and Organized Crime unit in Kitchener worked directly with its CBSA counterparts on this significant seizure, and through their joint efforts we've been able to disrupt the drug trade and secure charges. All enforcement partners share the same goal and resolve to keep illegal drugs off of our streets. I commend our members, the CBSA and other partners involved in this investigation for their excellent work."
Michael Duheme, Deputy Commissioner Federal Policing, RCMP
- Law enforcement agencies work diligently to make our communities a safer place to live – your assistance in remaining vigilant and informing us of any suspicious activities will help us be even more successful. To report any type of criminality, you can contact your local police or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) at any time.
- If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please contact the CBSA Border Watch Toll-free Line at 1-888-502-9060.
- So far this fiscal year, from April 2021 to October 2021, the CBSA has seized a total of 724 kilograms of cocaine/crack at ports of entry across the country. For the latest CBSA enforcement statistics, visit Canada Border Services Agency seizures.