Ottawa police charged in corruption probe allegedly communicated with witnesses
3 civilians also charged in connected investigations
Two Ottawa police officers charged with corruption offences by the RCMP are both alleged to have improperly communicated with witnesses — one in a police watchdog investigation, the other in a criminal probe, CBC News has learned.
On Thursday, RCMP announced criminal charges against Ottawa police constables Haidar El Badry and Mohamed Mohamed, who were both hired by the force in 2018.
Those charges are connected to an Ottawa police fentanyl trafficking investigation, which also led to charges laid Thursday against El Badry's brother. The charges against the police officers allege different wrongdoing.
According to the charges, RCMP allege Haidar El Badry committed breach of trust when, sometime between May 22 and June 2, he communicated with another Ottawa police officer involved in an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario's police watchdog.
At the time of that alleged communication, El Badry was a witness officer in that SIU probe. That same communication is also alleged to be the basis of the obstruction of justice charge laid against El Badry.
By communicating with another person involved in that investigation, the Mounties allege Haidar El Badry "did willfully attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding."
Officer's wife also charged
El Badry and his wife, Ashley El Badry — whose maiden name is Azzi — are jointly charged with giving a man named Mohamed Salameh a forged OC Transpo document between April 15 and May 31, which allowed him to cross an inter-provincial bridge during the Quebec curfew.
RCMP allege Azzi, an OC Transpo employee, made the fake document and Salameh is charged with using the forged document.
The second Ottawa police officer charged in the corruption probe, Mohamed Mohamed, allegedly obstructed justice by sharing evidence with a witness in a criminal investigation during the last week of April.
Connected to Ottawa police drug unit investigation
The RCMP investigation is connected to an Ottawa police drug unit investigation into El Badry's brother Ameer El Badry.
Both forces co-ordinated their arrests and laid charges against all individuals on Thursday. It's not immediately clear whether the drug case brought forward the breach of trust allegation, or whether the investigation into the officers spurred the probe into the alleged fentanyl trafficker.
In a statement Thursday, Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said the local force "received information regarding the potential corruption activities involving a member of the service."
Ottawa police then attempted to validate the information before requesting the RCMP take the case, the chief added.
Ottawa police called the raid at a home on Holmwood Avenue "one of the largest single seizures of fentanyl ever made by the Ottawa Police Service drug unit."
Police allege they seized 1.4 kilograms of fentanyl during the investigation and a "large sum" of cash.
Ameer El Badry is charged with two counts of drug possession for the purposes of trafficking and two counts of possessing the proceeds of crime.
Officers both suspended with pay
Haidar El Badry and Mohamed Mohamed are both suspended with pay. There are now seven Ottawa cops suspended this year alone.
Haidar El Badry was a former corrections officer and a graduate of Algonquin College's police foundations program. He is currently an Ottawa police patrol officer.
According to police board documents, both El Badry and Mohamed have only been employees of the service for three years.
Mohamed was hired by the local force in June 2018 as an "experienced officer" or "direct entry," which means he previously worked at another police service. Prior to his arrest, he was a neighbourhood resource team officer in east division. El Badry was officially hired by the Ottawa police in December 2018.
In 2020, according to the province's public salary disclosure list, El Badry made $103,680.84, while Mohamed was paid $117,931.56. Neither has any history of formal discipline.
All of the accused in both investigations were released from police custody on promises to appear in court.