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3 Edmonton men charged with drug trafficking after trying to cross into N.W.T.

A tip from a government of Northwest Territories employee led RCMP to arrest three Edmonton men for drug trafficking after they were denied entry into the territory Tuesday, according to police.

Men were denied entry after failing to meet the territory’s strict entry requirements

Three Edmonton men are facing a series of drug charges after they were turned away from the Northwest Territories border and a suspicious government of Northwest Territories employee tipped off police. (Submitted by RCMP)

A tip from a government of Northwest Territories employee led RCMP to arrest three Edmonton men for drug trafficking after the trio were denied entry into the territory Tuesday, according to police.

The men were turned away from an N.W.T.-Alberta border checkstop after they did not meet the territory's strict requirements to enter due to COVID-19, said RCMP in a news release sent Friday. The N.W.T. has effectively banned all non-essential travel into the territory since March in response to the pandemic.

Cathinone, also known as khat, was seized from the truck the three men were travelling in, according to RCMP. (Submitted by RCMP)

Police say a government employee was suspicious of the men's activities and contacted police.

RCMP stopped the truck the three men were travelling in between the checkstop and the border. The RCMP's federal investigations unit, traffic services and police dog services arrested them.

A search of the vehicle uncovered around 194 grams of cocaine and 78 grams of cathinone, also known as khat — a plant that's native to East Africa and banned in Canada.

Police charged Mohammed Hamza Mahmood, 27, Ismail Hassan Farah, 24, and Farah Ahmed Aden, 23, with trafficking and possessing cocaine and cathinone along with obstructing a peace officer. The truck was also seized.

The three were brought before a justice of the peace. Mahmood and Aden were released from custody and escorted out of the territory. They are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 8.

Farah remains in custody. He had outstanding warrants for drug trafficking along with other warrants held by the Edmonton Police Service, say police.

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