|Scanned, recopied or Internet copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections: |
Opening comments: More at the end.
More in this story then in the Mississauga News story for the same day.
Lots more to this story here.
Torstar Network - Nov. 25, 2008 - By
Officer 'surprised' when 'cocaine' found, jury told
A Peel Police officer expressed surprise and denied having anything to do fake cocaine found at his home, an RCMP officer told a Brampton court today.
Sgt. Gary Boutilier said Sheldon Cook said he didn't know what he was talking about when he explained he'd found what they'd been looking for after he arrested the officer following a search of the officer's Cambridge home on Nov. 18, 2005.
"He said he had nothing to do with anything related to our search," Boutilier said. "He appeared to act surprised."
In the search, police found 15 bricks of fake cocaine that had gone missing two days earlier. The dummy cocaine was part of an RCMP sting operation.
Federal prosecutors David Rowcliffe and Ania Weiler contend that Cook — unaware of the RCMP operation — intercepted the shipment after it left the Air Canada cargo warehouse on the evening of Nov. 16, 2005 and hid it at his home.
Cook, 40, has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal charges in connection with the discovery of the fake cocaine in the storage compartment of a Sea Doo (a recreational water machine) in a garage at his home.
He was initially arrested after the RCMP tracked a tracking device hidden in the fake cocaine to Cook's house on Nov. 18.
During the search warrant, officers also discovered a bag of marijuana and numerous MP3 players.
Defence lawyer Pat Ducharme suggested that his client never said anything about not knowing about the fake cocaine because he had earlier admitted to Boutilier - and at least one other officer - that he was aware of an investigation that involved a suspicious load of mangoes taken from a truck.
Boutilier insisted Cook did express surprise, although he couldn't remember word for word what the 14-year veteran constable had said to him.
He insisted he didn't find Cook's denial unusual because most times people who are arrested deny involvement.
"It was a typical response . . . I get it all the time from people who are arrested," Boutilier said. "You would think we always arrest the wrong person . . ." Boutilier said he was more disturbed by the fact the items were found at a police officer's home.
"We're dealing with someone who is supposed to uphold the law," Boutilier said.
A total of 88 boxes of mangoes containing 146 hidden bricks of fake cocaine arrived at Pearson International Airport from Peru on Nov. 16, 2005.
Incredibly, despite being under surveillance, the shipment went missing about 12 hours later.
The RCMP became aware the next day that the fake drugs had been seized by Peel Police. But when they took possession of the dummy drugs, there were only 102 bricks; 44 were missing.
Court previously heard that 23 of the fake bricks were later recovered but the other 21 have never been located.
The failed RCMP operation was designed to find Canadian buyers of an international drug smuggling operation based in Lima, Peru.
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 (MP3 players) from a police investigation and breach of trust as a police officer in connection with the other offences.
The offences were allegedly committed between Aug. 7, 2005 and Nov. 18, 2005.
In addition to the tracking device and 15 fake bricks of cocaine found at Cook's house, another tracking device and eight fake bricks, sliced open, were found in a garbage bin behind the Blinds to Go store on Dundas St. near the Mississauga/Oakville border on the same day the search warrant was executed at Cook's home.
Cook remains suspended with pay.
The case is also being watched closely by Peel's internal affairs bureau.
As a result of his arrest on Nov. 18, 2005, the courts decided against prosecuting at least six drug cases where Cook was the arresting officer.
As well, a month after his arrest, a Peel judge acquitted former Toronto Argonaut Orlando Bowen of drug and assaulting police charges that were laid by Cook and another officer. Bowen alleged at trial that Cook had planted a small amount of cocaine on him during his arrest.
The judge-alone trial before Justice Casey Hill is continuing in a Brampton courtroom.
Home Page - Main Table of Contents - Back up a page - Back to Top
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - ]