15 people arrested with 220 kg cocaine

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RCMP say 15 people are facing charges in connection to an organized crime network based in Montreal that used contacts in the transportation industry to import cocaine into Canada. Authorities seized 220 kilograms of cocaine and $2 million in cash they say was going to be used to purchase drugs.

Police say the drug ring planned to import 1.4 tonnes of cocaine in total.

“The network imported cocaine into Canada from the United States through its contacts with commercial land carriers,” the RCMP said in a statement on Wednesday.

This is the third and final phase of an operation known as Clemenza, which was launched in 2010.

The Mounties say Montreal police, Laval police, the Sûreté du Québec, the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency all assisted in the investigation.

“The impact of these arrests on organized crime is significant and will affect drug importation operations in the greater Montreal area,” the RCMP said.

Fourteen of the accused are set to appear at the Montreal courthouse today via video conference. The 15th man, Riccardo Preteroti, 48, is still sought by police.

A list of the accused:

  • Franco Albanese, 49, Saint-Léonard
  • Martino Caputo, 42, Kingston penitentiary
  • Antonio Ciavaglia, 56, Kirkland
  • Erasmo Crivello, 36, Laval
  • Liborio Cuntrera, 47, Laval
  • Claude Ducharme, 58, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
  • Antonio Guido, 40, Ottawa
  • Franck Iaconetti, 48, Repentigny
  • Hansley Joseph, 36, Montreal
  • Michele Lanni, 62, L’Île-Bizard
  • Carmelo Marsala, 37, Montreal
  • Roberto Olaciregui-Martinez, 37, Montreal
  • Marco Pizzi, 46, Montreal-Nord
  • Andreas Tasci, 44, Laval
  • Riccardo Preteroti, 48, unknown address

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