Suspended Hamilton police officer Craig Ruthowsky is facing 16 new charges, including bribery, breach of trust, perjury cocaine trafficking and weapon trafficking.

Ruthowsky, who previously served on Hamilton's guns and gangs unit, was arrested in 2015 during a Toronto police gang bust called Project Pharaoh. He is set to stand trial in Toronto in February 2018 on separate charges arising out of that bust.

The new charges – 16 in total – come from a separate Hamilton police investigation into events that took place between 2009 and 2012.

The new charges are:

  • Bribery
  • Two counts of breach of trust
  • Two counts of obstruct justice
  • Public mischief
  • Weapon trafficking
  • Fraud under $5,000
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence
  • Trafficking marijuana
  • Perjury
  • Weapon trafficking
  • Robbery
  • Two counts of trafficking cocaine

Ruthowsky's defence lawyer, Greg Lafontaine, said Ruthowsky is a "hardworking, honest police officer" and the charges police have brought stem from "fantastical" allegations made by criminals.

"People should not lose sight of the fact that the allegations are coming from a collection of individuals who've chosen to sort of wallow at the bottom of the societal barrel," he said.

"I expect that over the course of time, it will percolate to the surface that each of these individuals has some motive for saying what they're saying – some advantage that they're hoping to get as a result of playing ball with the prosecution on this case."

He said he didn't know how many people were behind the allegations.

Lafontaine and Ruthowsky

Craig Ruthowsky, right, seen with his defence attorney, Greg Lafontaine, is facing 16 new charges on top of the four charges he is scheduled to stand trial for in February. (Jeff Green/CBC)

Ruthowsky has been suspended with pay since 2012.

He was arrested Tuesday and has been released on bail, according to Hamilton police.

"As the matter is now before the courts, the Hamilton Police Service will not be commenting further," according to a media release.

Police say they're hoping that anyone with information will get in touch with Det. Troy Ashbaugh at 905-546-4951.

Ruthowsky is next expected in court in North York on Sept. 13.

kelly.bennett@cbc.ca