RCMP say four men from the GTA are facing dozens of charges after investigators uncovered a smuggling operation that sounds like it could be straight out of a movie.
On “several occasions,” Mounties say the men loaded a Jet Ranger helicopter up with illegal cannabis, then flew the drugs into the U.S. at a low altitude to avoid detection.
During their investigation, officers searched six properties in the Toronto-area and Quebec.
They seized more than 800 cannabis plants from an illegal grow-op, a quantity of suspected restricted and prohibited handguns, over 400 grams of cocaine and dried cannabis.
The helicopter was also seized, along with a truck and trailer.
At this point, police aren’t sure where exactly the handguns came from.
Kamal Deep Bassan, 36, of Vaughan, Ramindejit Assi, 25, of Burlington, Derek Chi-Yeung Ng, 40, of East Gwillimbury, and Parmjot Saini, 30, of Woodbridge were arrested and charged.
All four are jointly charged with conspiracy to export cannabis, possession of cannabis for the purpose of export, unlawful cultivation and harvest of cannabis and possession of forged documents.
Assi also faces cocaine possession and weapons charges.
Ng and Saini also face additional drug-related charges.
“The success of the investigation is due to the diligent efforts of the RCMP officers, analysts, and the efforts of our partners, specifically U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Air and Marine Operations, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Ontario Provincial Police – Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team,” said Inspector Ann Koenig, of the RCMP’s Hamilton-Niagara Detachment. “The RCMP continues to be committed to combatting Transnational Organized Crime and keeping our citizens safe by removing illicit commodities off the streets and out of the hands of these group.”