Operation Halfpenny uncovers conspiracy to import and traffic cocaine

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DARTMOUTH – Nova Scotia RCMP made several arrests and laid multiple charges in relation to Operation Halfpenny, a 1.5-year international drug trafficking investigation with ties to Colombia.

During the spring of 2015, information came to the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit. An investigation began in Cape Breton that uncovered a conspiracy to import more than one tonne of cocaine into Canada from Colombia. The investigation also uncovered two instances of individuals possessing and trafficking cocaine.

On February 23, RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime arrested four men  and executed search warrants at residences in Arichat, West Arichat, Baddeck and Hubley. During the search, police seized items including 25 firearms, a significant quantity of ammunition, three prohibited weapons, a stolen vehicle, a significant quantity of hashish, cash and tactical equipment. Additional charges are pending in relation to the drugs, firearms and stolen vehicle seized during the execution of these search warrants. The RCMP also arrested a man from Oakville, Ont.

Police located a sixth man, Raymond J.Y. Lachapelle of Hawkesbury, Ont., yesterday and arrested him today.

Throughout the investigation, Nova Scotia Federal Serious and Organized Crime worked closely with Canada Border Services Agency. The RCMP received additional assistance from the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. RCMP in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan also assisted with the investigation.

“Our job is to put these traffickers out of business and today is a success because we have disrupted an entire drug trafficking ring,” says S/Sgt. Mark McKinley of the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit. “This cocaine was destined for our streets in Nova Scotia and for provinces across Canada. The tireless efforts of many people have prevented these drugs from entering our communities.”

Six individuals face a total of 23 charges.

Andrew Francis Frank, 59, West Arichat, NS

  • Trafficking in cocaine x 2
  • Possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking x 2
  • Conspiracy to import cocaine
  • Conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Conspiracy to possess cocaine for the purpose of trafficking

Donald Gordon Mugford, 35, Baddeck

  • Trafficking in cocaine
  • Possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking
  • Conspiracy to import cocaine
  • Conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Conspiracy to possess cocaine for the purpose of trafficking

Wayne Bennie Mury, 43, Arichat

  • Trafficking in cocaine
  • Possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking

Douglas Eric Andrew Fredericks, 54, Hubley

  • Conspiracy to import cocaine
  • Conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Conspiracy to possess cocaine for the purpose of trafficking

Raymond J.Y. Lachapelle, 53, Hawkesbury, ON

  • Conspiracy to import cocaine
  • Conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Conspiracy to possess cocaine for the purpose of trafficking

Fredericks appeared in Halifax Provincial Court yesterday and Mugford appeared in Halifax Provincial Court today. Both men were released on conditions and are scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on March 20 at 1:30 p.m. Mugford is additionally scheduled to appear in Truro Provincial Court on April 26 at 9:30 a.m.

Frank and Mury have been remanded into custody and appeared in Halifax Provincial Court today.

Another accused from Ontario is currently in custody following an unrelated arrest in Ontario. Arrangements are being made to transport him to Nova Scotia for his court date.

The investigation is ongoing.

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