Cocaine in Baddeck
On February 23, a Baddeck home was one of four locations targeted by Nova Scotia RCMP in relation to Operation Halfpenny, a 1.5-year international drug trafficking investigation with ties to Colombia. After an early-morning raid at 405 Shore Road, Donald Gordon Mugford, 35, Baddeck, NS, was arrested without incident and charged with possessing, trafficking and conspiracy to import cocaine.
In addition to Mugford, the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit arrested three other men without incident and executed search warrants at residences in Arichat and West Arichat, Cape Breton, and Hubley, N.S., outside of Halifax. The RCMP also arrested two men from Oakville and Hawkesbury, Ontario. In all, six individuals face a total of 23 charges.
The coordinated arrests were the culmination of an 18-month investigation that FSOC had been conducting into a conspiracy to import over one tonne of cocaine into Canada from Colombia.
During the searches, police seized items including 25 firearms, a significant quantity of ammunition, 3 prohibited weapons, a stolen vehicle, a significant quantity of hashish, cash and tactical equipment. Witnesses at the scene in Baddeck describe a Hummer vehicle being towed away on a flatbed. It is unclear if the Hummer is the stolen vehicle mentioned in the RCMP media release. Additional charges are pending in relation to the drugs, firearms and stolen vehicle seized during the execution of these search warrants.
Nova Scotia FSOC worked closely with Canada Border Services Agency throughout the investigation. The RCMP received additional assistance from the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. RCMP in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan also assisted with the investigation.
"Our job is to put these traffickers out of business and today is a success because we have disrupted an entire drug trafficking ring," says S/ Sgt. Mark Mckinley of the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit. "This cocaine was destined for our streets in Nova Scotia and for provinces across Canada. The tireless efforts of many people have prevented these drugs from entering our communities."
Mugford appeared in Halifax Provincial Court the day of his arrest and was released on conditions. He is scheduled to appear again in Halifax Provincial Court on March 20 as well as Truro Provincial Court on April 26.
The investigation is ongoing.
An unidentified Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit Officer from Sydney (left) talks with Baddeck RCMP Cpl. Scott Williamson (right) outside 405 Shore Road following an early-morning arrest of Donald Gordon Mugford. Photo by Andrew Brooks / The Victoria Standard.