Mayor Rob Ford ‘shocked’ after occasional driver arrested for drug-related offences

Video: A friend and sometimes driver of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been arrested on drug-related charges. Mike Drolet reports.

TORONTO – Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, a friend of Mayor Rob Fords, was released on $5000 bail Wednesday after being charged with several drug-related offences.

Ford said Wednesday he was “surprised” by charges of drug-traffic and possession being laid against his friend and occasional driver.

“I’m surprised. I’m very surprised. It’s before the courts, so I can’t say much,” the mayor said during a short media availability in Etobicoke.
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Lisi, 35, was arrested overnight in Etobicoke for drug related offences.

Toronto police confirmed in a media release that Lisi, 35, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail are reporting Lisi is a close personal friend of the mayor who has acted as his driver in the past. However, he currently has no official role in the mayor’s office.

But Ford defended his friend, adding that he’s never seen Lisi do drugs or drink.

“He’s a friend,” Ford said. “He’s a good guy and I don’t throw my friends under the bus. Like i said, he’s straight and narrow, I’ve never once seen him drink, I’ve never seen him do drugs.”

WATCH: Mayor Ford ‘surprised’ by arrest of his friend and driver

While the mayor was quick to admit Lisi was a friend of his, his brother, Councillor Doug Ford said he had never met Lisi.

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“I’ve never met him. I don’t know him. Never talked to the guy and I support the police investigation,” Councillor Ford said. “I know close associates [of the mayor’s] and I’ve never met him.”

The Star reported earlier this year that Lisi was looking for a video that allegedly showed Ford using crack cocaine. Ford has said he does not use crack cocaine and the alleged video does not exist.

Global News has not seen the video and cannot confirm its authenticity.

Related: Rob Ford’s popularity unlikely to be affected by arrest of his friend, experts say.

Jamshid Bahrami, 47, of Toronto, was also arrested and charged with possession of cocaine, three counts of traffic in marijuana, and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Both Lisi and Bahrami are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.

The two were taken into custody by police following a search warrant at a dry cleaning business at Richview Plaza on 250 Wincott Drive around 7:15 p.m.

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Toronto police were seen investigating the business and another property in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood.

Ford also took time to criticize the media after some reporters waited outside of his Etobicoke home Wednesday morning.

“You know what bothers me? You guys coming to my house, my front door. That’s pretty bad. At least, you can set up something, but don’t come to my front door again,” he said. “That’s low if you ask me.”

-with a file from The Canadian Press

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