The RCMP announced the arrests of four men tied to a 16-month investigation into illegal gun imports and cannabis exports across the Canada and US border, in which a helicopter flying at low altitude was used to avoid detection.
The investigation was a joint one between the RCMP in both Ontario and Quebec, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Ontario Provincial Police.
According to the RCMP, the group was growing cannabis illegally in the GTA and would use a Jet Ranger helicopter to fly it across the border to the U.S. at low altitudes, in order to avoid detection.
Six search warrants were executed between areas in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Quebec, which resulted in the seizure of a “quantity of suspected restricted and prohibited handguns, over 800 plants and dried cannabis from an illegal grow operation and approximately 400 grams of suspected cocaine,” a release from the RCMP read Wednesday.
Kamal Deep Bassan, 36, from Vaughan, Ramindejit Assi, 25, from Burlington, Derek Chi-Yeung Ng, 40, from East Gwillimbury and Parmjot Saini, 30, from Woodbridge were arrested.
The four men were charged with:
- Conspiracy to commit the unlawful export of cannabis, possession of cannabis for the purpose of exporting it and cultivating cannabis not at a dwelling house
- Possession of cannabis for the purpose of Export Contrary
- Unlawful export of cannabis
- Unlawful cultivation propagation and harvest of cannabis plants at a place that is not a dwelling house
- Possession of forged documents
Assi was also charged with illegal possession of brass knuckles.
Ng was also charged with possession of cocaine.
Both Ng and Saini were further charged with possession of cannabis for the purpose of dealing.
A helicopter, truck and trailer were also seized.
The investigation is ongoing into where the handguns came from.
“This important disruption removed 18 firearms from a criminal organization that posed a significant threat to Canadian communities and brazenly exploited our shared border through the air,” said Michael Buckley, spokesperson for Homeland Security Investigations for the US embassy in Ottawa.
Anyone with information regarding any criminal activity is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
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