2 Pearson airport border officials charged with importing cocaine

Cocaine bricks RCMP say were seized at Toronto International Airport. RCMP

Two Canadian border officers who were stationed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport are among five people facing charges in an alleged cocaine importation operation.

Police say more than 30 kilograms of cocaine was seized in the course of a year-and-a-half-long joint investigation by the RCMP and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The RCMP said the shipments originated in Colombia and Jamaica.

Goran Vragovic, CBSA’s regional director general for the Greater Toronto Area, said the organization takes these kinds of allegations “very seriously.”

“These allegations in no way reflect upon the true professionalism, dedication and integrity displayed each and every day by our CBSA staff, ” he said in a media release.

The two border officers, Patrick Ruddy, 37, of  Toronto, and Brano Andrews, 41, of Barrie, were arrested on Thursday.

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They are both facing charges of breach of trust, importing a controlled substance and conspiracy to import a controlled substance.

Two others, Roberto Leyva, 32, of Niagara Falls, and Keith Hamid, 41, of Brampton, are charged with importing a controlled substance and conspiracy to import.

Another Brampton resident, Rennie Escoffery, 57, faces a conspiracy charge.

They were all scheduled to appear in court in Brampton on Thursday for a bail hearing.

The RCMP says the investigation is ongoing.

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