Kitchener-Waterloo

2 Sunwing Airlines workers among 11 charged in drug ring 'centred at' Toronto's Pearson airport

Two Sunwing employees accused of importing cocaine through Toronto's Pearson airport are among 11 people facing dozens of drug-trafficking charges after an undercover operation led by Kitchener RCMP and involving law enforcement in southern Ontario.

Kitchener RCMP say men, women charged with total of 40 offences following drug raids in southern Ontario

Eleven people, including two airline employees working out of Toronto's Pearson airport, have been charged with 40 drug-trafficking offences in an investigation involving Kitchener, Ont., RCMP and other police and government authorities. Police seized fentanyl, heroin, meth, marijuana, cocaine and carfentanil with an estimated street value of $10 million. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

Two Sunwing employees accused of importing cocaine through Toronto's Pearson airport are among 11 people facing dozens of drug-trafficking charges after an undercover operation led by Kitchener RCMP and involving law enforcement in other parts of southern Ontario.

RCMP said Friday the following drugs were seized as part of Project OWoodcraft:

  • 10 kg of fentanyl.
  • 1.3 kg of heroin.
  • 1 kg of meth.
  • 30 kg of marijuana.
  • Smaller amounts of carfentanil and cocaine.

Police also seized $400,000 in cash and three vehicles worth $170,000.

The RCMP release said the two Sunwing Airlines employees linked to the drug ring, which was "centred at" Pearson, are charged with attempting to import cocaine and trafficking cocaine. Police also thanked Sunwing for helping them with the probe.

The investigation involved undercover officers from the RCMP's Kitchener office purchasing approximately nine kilograms of fentanyl as well as several kilograms of other drugs over the course of several transactions. 

"These drugs could have been diluted significantly, meaning a much higher drug volume would have been distributed to the streets," police said in a release.

In a statement emailed to CBC News on Friday, Sunwing said the company "offered our full co-operation to the RCMP to ensure that this matter was brought to a successful conclusion."

The company said the two employees, a man from Mississauga and another from Kitchener, have been suspended without pay.

"Their access to Sunwing offices and all other company and airport facilities was immediately revoked along with their security clearance."

Bust involved various police, authorities

RCMP in Kitchener worked with police services in the Hamilton area, Toronto, Durham Region, Brantford, the Waterloo area and provincial police. The Canada Border Services Agency, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada were also involved.

Chief Supt. Michael LeSage said the RCMP and other partners "will continue to work together closely to eradicate" the dangers of drug trafficking.

"Those who traffic in illicit drugs destroy lives and impact the safety and security of our communities," LeSage said in a release.

Those charged in Project OWoodcraft are:

  • A man, 42, and two women, each 22, from Hamilton.
  • A man, 36, from Etobicoke in suburban Toronto.
  • Two men, 29 and 33, from Toronto.
  • A man, 46, in Mississauga, Ont.
  • Two men, 49 and 20, from Ajax.
  • A  man, 39, from Brantford.
  • A man, 40, from Kitchener.

Kate Bueckert, Carmen Groleau, Meagan Fitzpatrick

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