Police dismantle Montreal-based Nunavut, Nunavik weed network
Police make arrests in Montreal, Resolute Bay, Kimmirut, Arctic Bay, Kangiqsujuaq, Inukjuak and Puvirnituq
(Updated 3:30 p.m., Sept. 25)
Police in Nunavut and Nunavik say they’ve busted a Montreal-based grow-op and distribution network that exported marijuana to communities in Nunavut and Nunavik.
On Sept. 24, officers of the “V” Division RCMP, “C” Division Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the Kativik Regional Police Force conducted raids on several targets in Nunavut and Quebec, a news release said Sept. 25.
“The network dismantled today was established for many years with the Montreal-based suspect acting as the main distributor, reselling the drugs at very high prices in these remote areas. The impact of this investigation is important for all northern communities considering the issues related to drug trafficking and substance abuse,” police said.
At a brief news conference at “V” division headquarters, Cpl. Yvonne Niego said police have arrested six people in Nunavut: two each from Kimmirut, Resolute Bay and Arctic Bay.
The KRPF also conducted raids and made four arrests during the afternoon of Sept. 24 in three Nunavik communities, identified as Kangiqsujuaq, Inukjuak and Puvirnituq by the Kativik Regional Government.
The combined Aboriginal forces conducted three searches and made arrested three people in Montreal, including that of a man, 52, who they allege is the boss of the network.
Niego said none of the people arrested have had court appearances, which means the RCMP will not release their names.
She also said it appears as if the Montreal-based network has been running for many years, but they don’t know if the grow-op was dedicated solely to supplying marijuana to the eastern Arctic.
The network attracted the attention of the Nunavut RCMP in March 2013. As part of the continuing investigation, they teamed up with A-CFSEU, the KRPF and Canada Post.
The subsequent joint investigation, conducted in cooperation with inspectors from Canada Post, revealed the drugs were grown and packaged in the Montreal region, then sent by mail to communities in Nunavut and Nunavik.
Local dealers then distributed the drugs, using electronic transfers of money via credit cards.
During their investigation, police seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants and about 22 kilos of marijuana in the greater Montreal area.
Those arrested could face charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the investigation could lead to further arrests, the news release said.
“The success of this multi-jurisdictional investigation would not have been possible without the help of concerned members of the public in Nunavut,” Chief Superintendent Lindsey Brine, commanding officer of the RCMP in Nunavut, said in the news release.
Brine said that “a crippling blow has been dealt to this organized drug trafficking ring.”
This will significantly reduce the supply of illicit drugs in Nunavut, he said.
“These drugs are harmful and we continue to ask for the assistance of the public so that we can further reduce the flow.”
The news release also contained a public appeal for more information, asking people in Nunavut to tip them off if they have information about illegal activities on the part of individuals or groups involved in drug trafficking in Nunavut.
If you have information, you can call your local RCMP detachment or call (867) 979-0123 and ask for the Federal Operations Section or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Online tips can also be placed at http://www.nwtnutips.com or you can text ‘NWTNUTIPS’ plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).
(More to follow)