St. Johns NF – An investigation into illegal drug trafficking has connections from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay. There are not a lot of details yet, three people in Newfoundland are in custody, and charges are pending.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Drug Investigation Unit (DIU) has seized an unprecedented value of illicit drugs, cash, weapons, drug manufacturing equipment, and vehicles in connection with Operation Rhino.
In September of 2019, The RNC DIU initiated Operation Rhino in response to public safety concerns related to illicit drug activity, more specifically the manufacturing of non-pharmaceutical grade pills.
Following the collaborative approach of specialized units within the CID, conventional investigative techniques were deployed, and on June 30, 2020, members of the CID and patrol services executed several Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search of residences and vehicles on the Avalon.
Among the items seized were illicit drugs valued at over $6,000,000.00, cash in the amount of $181,930.00, two money counters, six firearms, body armour, ammunition, brass knuckles, and two vehicles.
Most notably, investigators seized a piece of equipment called a ‘pill press’, which is used for mass production of non-pharmaceutical grade pills and is the first of its kind located within the province. This significant seizure of product, weapons, and equipment dismantles an organized crime enterprise here in our community, which is national in scale.
Illicit drugs and equipment seized are as follows:
- 1073.33 grams of cocaine
- 3210 grams of mushrooms
- 35.66 grams of MDMA
- 46 blots of LSD
- 700 pounds of illicit cannabis
- 6300 grams of shatter
- 127 pounds of illicit edibles
- 14.11 kg of hashish
- Pill press (mass production)
Weapons seized are as follows:
- Bolt action rifle 30/06 caliber
- Semi-automatic rifle SKS 7.62 caliber
- Semi-automatic rifle .22 caliber
- Shotgun 12 gauge
- Semi-automatic rifle .308 caliber
- Shotgun 12 gauge
Three persons have been arrested and released in connection with Operation Rhino. Charges are pending in relation to this ongoing investigation. We wish to recognize the teamwork of our colleagues with RCMP NL, RCMP NS, RCMP BC, and the Thunder Bay Police Service.