Two Canadians arrested in separate international drug smuggling cases

May 12, 2020

 Two Canadians have been charged with international drug trafficking, in Australia and Costa Rica, respectively. In the first case, a 26-year-old dual French-Canadian citizen was arrested in Melbourne, Australia and accused of importing $15 million worth of methamphetamine from Mexico. According to the Australian Federal Police, the accused had imported a total of 154 kilograms of methamphetamine in January, worth approximately $15 million dollars in Canadian currency. The accused is said to have brought it over by sea, concealing the drugs in a shipment of silver concentrate. The shipment was discovered following a tip from the Indian police, with the container being subsequently examined and x-rayed by Australian Border Police. Close examination revealed block structures inside the shipment contents of 19 tonnes of silver concentrate, which normally appears as a dry powder of almost pure silver – a common way to transport silver due to reduced weight and volume.

A 34-year-old Australian man from Sydney suspected to be the shipment recipient was also arrested in relation to the case and charged with attempting to possess a ‘commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.’ The maximum penalty potentially facing both accused men is life imprisonment. These arrests follow a pattern of Canadians recently arrested in Australia and accused of high-volume import of illicit drugs through various means, including importing methamphetamine in snow globes, cocaine in suitcase linings and ecstasy in barbecues.

According to Australian Federal Police Commissioner Bruce Giles, the investigation succeeded in “dismantling and disrupting the work of an organized crime syndicate.”

In an unrelated case, another Canadian man was arrested at the airport in Costa Rica and accused of attempting to smuggle out a large load of cannabis-containing chocolates. The 49-year-old Camerún Paterson was arrested together with 31-year-old U.S. citizen, Sayela Wala. According to the Ministry of Public Security, their seven suitcases attracted the attention of two passengers in the departure zone at the Costa Rica international airport.

Inside the suitcases, the airport security found 1,087 chocolate bars containing cannabis, with a total weight of 83.7 kilograms. However, the total weight of seized cannabis remains unclear.

According to the National Post, the two men had arrived in Costa Rica as tourists on February 14 at its land border between Nicaragua. They were scheduled to leave the following week on a flight to the United States, and then to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Subsequently, they were charged with international drug trafficking

Authorities have confirmed that the Costa Rican and Australian drug smuggling cases are not linked, and none of the evidence of either case has yet been proven in court.