A man and a woman from Ottawa have been arrested after an investigation into an international drug smuggling ring that began more than a year ago in British Columbia.

They were arrested after search warrants were executed on homes and properties in Ottawa on Friday and Saturday. 

Police in British Columbia led the probe, which began in May 2012 when B.C. police began investigating an international drug importation and distribution network.

"This complex investigation revealed that in addition to the national distribution of drugs, the scope extended beyond Canada’s borders and this network was shipping drugs, primarily methamphetamine and cocaine, to Australia, possibly since 2009," said a media release from police in B.C.

"Additionally, it was also discovered that those involved were using false travel documents to conceal fraudulently obtained identities."

In late 2012, Australian police seized cocaine and methamphetamine concealed in furniture. The seized drugs had a combined street value of more than $35 million.

Two Canadian nationals were arrested at the time, but the investigation continued.

The 47-year-old Ottawa man and 42-year-old Ottawa woman arrested last week were released from police custody and could be facing charges including exporting a controlled substance, fraud, impersonation and passport-related offences.

Not linked to recent drug bust in Australia

The arrests in Ottawa are not connected to the bust of an alleged Canadian-led international syndicate that imported nearly two tonnes of drug-making materials worth almost $300 million to Australia.

That bust happened last weekend. The Australian Associated Press reported Monday that eight Canadians and two Australians were in custody.

Police said the weekend arrests followed the seizure last month in Melbourne of 650 kilograms of pseudoephedrine that had been hidden in vanilla powder jars.

They said the chemical came from India and is used to produce methamphetamine.