Four men from South America have been arrested in Montreal and are accused of trying to smuggle more than 46 kilograms of cocaine into the country, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Investigators in Halifax say they found the cocaine on a Montreal-bound container from Panama on May 2.

The cargo in the container had been declared as suitcases, which investigators deemed was a high risk. They scanned the suitcases with an X-ray machine and found "irregularities" in 10 of the 207 suitcases. 

Officers found vacuum-sealed packages containing an off-white powder concealed within the back wall of 10 suitcases. Testing confirmed the substance was cocaine.

Four men from South America were arrested in Montreal on May 15 and charges are expected. 

The Canada Border Services Agency reviews advance cargo information before shipments are loaded at foreign ports or arrive at Canadian borders.

Any high-risk shipments or cargo that may pose a threat are flagged for examination when they reach Canada — in this case, the port of Halifax.

CBSA cocaine seizure

The cocaine was hidden in the back wall of suitcases destined for Montreal, say the Canada Border Services Agency. (CBSA/RCMP)

"Our officers are the first line of defence in protecting Canadians from the devastating social impacts and criminal activity associated with the smuggling of illegal drugs," Rick Patterson, the Canada Border Services Agency director for the Atlantic region, said in a statement.

"Drug seizures of this magnitude show that the CBSA and the RCMP are making a real difference in protecting Canadian communities."

In 2013, there were 130 narcotics seizures in Atlantic Canada, including five cocaine seizures.