Customs officer acquitted in drug trafficking retrial

Former Montreal airport customs officer Nancy Cedeno has been acquitted of conspiracy to import cocaine for a second time, in a retrial ordered by Quebec's appeal court.

Nancy Cedeno, arrested in Operation Coliseum, cleared for a second time

Former customs officer acquitted again


8 years agoVideo
Nancy Cedeno gets off for a second time on drug smuggling conspiracy charges dating back to Operation Colisée in 2006. Salimah Shivji reports on the verdict in her retrial. 2:06

Former Montreal airport customs officer Nancy Cedeno has been acquitted for a second time on three charges of conspiracy to import cocaine.

An earlier conviction on a charge of corruption, for agreeing to accept bribes, stands.

Cedeno was arrested in 2006 in a police crackdown of a drug-smuggling network operating out of Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

In 2009, she was found guilty of corruption but acquitted of several more serious charges, including conspiracy to smuggle drugs, gangsterism and racketeering.

The prosecution appealed and won a partial victory when Quebec's appeal court ordered a new trial on the conspiracy charges.

That ten-day trial took place last fall, Cedeno arguing she knew nothing about a plot to import cocaine into Canada.

Justice Marie-Josée Di Lallo believed her.

As the judge read out her decision this afternoon, Cedeno broke down in tears of relief and hugged a friend. 

"It's been long — six years and two trials — media coverage," Cedeno said outside the courtroom.  "There's no other words: I'm relieved, and finally I'll be able to start living my life."

Cedeno said she has not worked since her arrest.  She said she is looking forward to putting her legal troubles behind her and focusing on raising her two daughters.

Cedeno has been free since June 2010, shortly after she received a suspended sentence of two years less a day on the corruption conviction, including one year of house arrest and 200 hours of community service.

Cedeno's defence lawyer, Robert Bellefeuille, said his client only served about a month of that sentence, because it was also appealed by the Crown.

The appeal court has yet to hear arguments on the sentence.

Cedeno was one of 100 people arrested during the 2006 Operation Colisée, an intensive investigation into organized crime in Montreal that also led to the arrest of several alleged members of the Rizzuto clan.