Two Durham Regional Police officers have been suspended after being charged in a drug investigation in Ajax.
According to the police, a probe was launched last summer after officers learned of alleged drug activity and “excessive alcohol serving ” at the Black Bear Bar and Grill.
Police said in the course of that investigation they discovered that two officers were affiliated with the owner. Five people were charged on Tuesday in relation to the alleged sale of cocaine and marijuana.
Const. Husen Aswat, 32, is facing 19 charges — seven counts of breach of trust, four counts of cocaine trafficking, three counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, theft under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and three counts of possession of proceeds of crime.
Aswat, of the Durham police West Division, has nine years of experience on the force.
An eight-year police officer also with West Division, Const. Amandeep Thakur, 30, has been charged with theft under $5,000, two counts of breach of trust and possession of property obtained by crime.
Three others, Rajalingam Varatharajan, 44, of Pickering, Kevin Chung, 34, of Toronto, and 40-year-old Shaun Carter of Ajax, are facing drug trafficking-related charges.
The five men arrested were held for a bail hearing.
In a statement, Durham police chief Paul Martin said that the force is committed to transparency with the public and stressed that the incident isn’t representative of his officers.
“When we became aware of the possible involvement of our DRPS members, we conducted a vigorous investigation,” he stated. “No one is above the law and every one of our employees is accountable for their actions. I want to assure the community that this is not a reflection of our women and men who work so hard every day to uphold the law and keep our communities safe.”
Both of the officers, whose names appear on the province’s Sunshine List of public employees earning more than $100,000 per year, have been suspended with pay, as is required under the Police Services Act.