It's being billed as the largest Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seizure of illegal narcotics to ever occur in the Canadian Prairies, and it happened right here in Southern Manitoba.
At a news conference in Winnipeg on Wednesday morning, authorities announced officers at the Boissevain Port of Entry discovered and seized 406 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine following a search of a commercial truck on January 14th. According to SFC Ken MacGregor, that's about 4 million illicit doses with a street value of over $50 million.
The driver, a 29-year-old man from Winnipeg, was carrying the shipment to a destination in Winnipeg. He was arrested by the CBSA and transferred to Manitoba RCMP, along with the suspected narcotics.
"This is an extraordinary seizure for the Canada Border Services Agency, and I congratulate the border agents who used their training and experience to stop the shipment from reaching its destination," said RCMP Inspector Joe Telus. "Without a doubt, their work has made an impact and will stem the availability of this incredibly dangerous drug - a drug that has already impacted so many lives."
Preliminary investigation has uncovered details regarding the transportation of these drugs, however, Insp. Telus said most of that information can't be shared publicly at this time. What he did confirm was that the shipment originated from the United States. RCMP, CBSA and other partners across Canada along with international law enforcement agencies continue to comb over every aspect of the truck's journey from the U.S. to Boissevain, as well as its intended final destination of Winnipeg, added Insp. Telus.
"The origin and size of the shipment leads us to believe that this involved organized crime at the local, national and international level," added Insp. Telus.
"While the drugs were destined for Winnipeg, we also strongly believe they would have been distributed to communities across Manitoba and possibly to locations across Western Canada and into Ontario," he added.
Insp. Telus noted, removing these drugs from circulation has a direct impact on the safety of Canadians.
"Large illicit drug shipments, such as this one, and the subsequent distribution of these drugs is closely associated with increased violence in our communities as street gangs and organized crime networks fight over territory and who gets to the sell to the users. This is why this seizure is so important. It will make a difference to many lives and communities throughout or country."
The driver has now been charged with Importation of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking. The individual is scheduled to appear in Manitoba Law Courts on February 1st.
"This is another great example of the partnership between the CBSA and the RCMP to keep our communities safe and disrupt organized crime and drug trafficking,” said Russ Lapointe, Director, Southern Manitoba District, Canada Border Services Agency in a news release issued Wednesday morning.