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15 charged after RCMP drug trafficking probe uncovers ties to cartels

HALIFAX – RCMP say they have charged 15 people following a two-year drug trafficking investigation that uncovered ties to Colombian and Mexican cartels.

The Mounties said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Operation Harrington began in 2013. It covered cocaine that was being imported into Canada from counties including Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and the United States.

Nine of the 15 suspects are in custody while arrest warrants for the other six have been issued. All together, they are facing 45 charges.

The people facing charges are:

  • Steven Tello, 35, from Toronto — four counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of trafficking cocaine.
  • Mathew Thomas Fleming, 35, from Maple, ON — four counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of trafficking cocaine and one count of trafficking in firearms.
  • Gary Christopher Meister, 60, from Bedford, N.S. — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
  • Michael Costa, 30, from Vaughan, ON — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of trafficking cocaine.
  • Philipos Kollaros, 35, from Montreal — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
  • Bayon David Figueoa Escobar, 36, from Montreal — one count of trafficking cocaine
  • Stephen Alexander Fleming, 33, from Halifax — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Delbert William Meister, 69, from Halifax — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Darlene Margaret Richards, 54, from Greenwood, N.S. — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine

Arrest warrants have been issued for the following people facing charges:

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  • Bassam Kassel Elouta, 35, from Richmond Hill, ON — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine.
  • Ryan James Wedding, 33, from Montreal — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, one count of trafficking in cocaine.
  • Normand Joseph Pomerleau, 64, from Montreal — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
  • Michael Charles Dibben, 60, from Montreal — two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine.
  • Edouard Semmikian, 61, from Montreal — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine.
  • Alyas Rahimi, 28, from Toronto — one count of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Police also seized firearms, vehicles, cash and more than 200 kilograms of cocaine during the operation.

With files from Rebecca Lau, Global News

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