Osman Ismail Hassan, 37, of Ottawa, Abib Ige Aden, 49, of Ottawa and Abdi Muse Ibrahim, 46, of Toronto face drug charges after an investigation by the Ottawa Airport Authority, Canada Border Services Agency, the Ottawa Police Service and the RCMP. The probe began in May 2006, the RCMP said in news release Thursday.
The charges relate to the illegal importation of the east African herb khat, whose leaves are chewed or infused to produce a high.
Police allege $171,290 worth of khat was shipped in 1,788 bundles on five occasions in luggage from London, England, where khat is not illegal.
Once the baggage arrived, police allege, Aden, who worked at the Ottawa airport, removed the international tags and transferred the bags to the domestic baggage claim so they would not have to pass through customs.
"Although the only illegal commodity of choice in this case was khat, the method used to smuggle it into Canada could have been used to smuggle many other illegal and potentially dangerous goods," RCMP Supt. Mike Gaudreau said at a news conference.
The Ottawa Airport Authority's vice-president of terminal services and information technology, Ian Bell, told the news conference the airport has made physical changes to prevent this type of smuggling.
Courtesy of CBC