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Opening comments: More at the end.
Its a bomb - no, its the RCMP!
Lots more to this story here.
Torstar Network - Feb. 3, 2009 - By
Officer drug trial resumes after break
A Peel detective testified yesterday in a Brampton court that he thought a tracking device found inside a shipment of mangoes was being used by drug dealers trying to smuggle cocaine into Canada from South America.
Det. Marty Rykhoff said he called out the bomb squad as a precaution, even though he believed the wires were attached to tracking devices inserted by drug dealers to follow their cocaine.
Rykhoff believed the packages contained real drugs. As it turned out, the drugs discovered in a courier truck on Nov. 16, 2005 were fake. They were part of an international RCMP sting that saw real cocaine replaced with white flour before it left Lima, Peru.
Two days later, using another tracking device hidden in the dummy cocaine, RCMP investigators were led to 15 bricks at the Cambridge residence of Peel Regional Police Cst. Sheldon Cook.
The bricks were found in the storage compartment of a Sea-Do inside his garage.
Cook, a 14-year veteran officer, has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal charges is on trial before Justice Casey Hill in Brampton.
Cook, 40, is accused of stealing 15 of the 102 wrapped packages of suspected cocaine.
A search warrant at his home also uncovered marijuana and several MP3 players allegedly taken from an unrelated investigation.
Rykhoff said Cook was one of the officers who loaded the drugs into a van as they waited for the bomb disposal unit to arrive.
He said Cook then drove that van about a block away from the courier truck after the bomb disposal unit moved into place.
He said Cook and other officers from his team left the scene in different vehicles soon afterwards. He and Cook drove cars while two other officers drove the van.
Federal prosecutors David Rowcliffe and Ania Weiler say Cook believed the cocaine was real when he removed the bricks during his involvement as part of Rykhoff's crew.
Cook is charged with attempting to possess a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property from a police investigation and breach of trust as a police officer. He remains suspended with pay.
Altogether, 88 boxes containing 146 bricks of fake cocaine arrived at Mississauga's Pearson International Airport from Peru on Nov. 16, 2005.
Incredibly, despite being under surveillance, the shipment disappeared 12 hours later.
The RCMP wanted to catch those responsible in an international drug smuggling operation. The identity of the Canadians was unknown but the RCMP planned to follow the shipment and arrest whoever received it.
But the courier driver, who wasn't involved, became suspicious. Instead of delivering the mangoes, he drove to a Peel Regional Police community police station on Lakeshore Rd. in Mississauga, where officers, including Cook, were called to inspect the shipment.
The trial, which resumed yesterday after a two-month hiatus, continues today.
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