Co­caine in Bad­deck

The Victoria Standard - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW BROOKS

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.

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