Three people are facing charges in a drug bust the OPP say is the biggest in their history.

They say an intercontinental investigation netted them 1,062 kilograms of pure cocaine. The estimated wholesale value of it is estimated around $60-million dollars. Once cut, OPP say the street value for this amount is estimated at approximately $250-million dollars.

“The OPP recognize that illegal drugs cause grievous harm and threaten community safety,” says OPP Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes, “With the amount of pure cocaine seized during Project HOPE, we’ve stopped many criminals from causing more harm to our communities while removing a quarter of a billion dollars from the criminal economy.”

“Project Hope” was a collaboration of numerous police forces, including the OPP’s Crime Enforcement Bureau and Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau. Other forces involed were the Canada Border Services Agency, Peel Regional Police, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The investigation itself identified the three people importing “enormous quantities of cocaine from Argentina,” and were linked to cocaine transported on “ocean-going vessels in shipping containers to the Port of Montreal for distribution in Ontario.”

“Over the course of several months, the OPP worked with CBSA to identify the containers and locations,” OPP say in a release, “Subsequent investigation identified links to various caches of cocaine at a CBSA warehouse, at the Port of Montreal and in Stoney Creek, Ontario.”

Two of the three were charged on May 1st, while the third person was charged on July 10th.

The first two were 52-year old Luis Enrique Karim-Altamirando of Vaughan and 36-year old Mauricio Antonio Medina-Gatica of Brampton.

The third person charged was 45-year old Iban Orozco-Lomeli of Toronto.

Karim-Altamirando’s charges include:

  • Importation of a Controlled Substance Schedule 1 – Cocaine
  • Possession of a Controlled Schedule 1 Substance – Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
  • Drive While Disqualified

He is in police custody, with a bail hearing set for August 30th.

Meantime, Medina-Gatica and Orozco-Lomeli were both charged with the following:

  • Importation of a Controlled Substance Schedule 1 – Cocaine
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance Schedule 1 – Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking

They were both released on bail.

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