Canadian officer implicated in global drug ring

Canadian police seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $3 million, cocaine worth $30,000

By Betsy Powell and Curtis Rush
Toronto Star

TORONTO, Ontario — A Toronto police officer who allegedly assisted an Eastern European organized crime group traffic narcotics was released on bail today after he was arrested as part of a massive drug sweep across the GTA that resulted in the arrests of more than two dozen people.

Const. Ioan-Florin Floria, 34, an eight-year veteran, was working in the Toronto Police Service's traffic division.

Chief Bill Blair told a news conference that while the arrest is deeply concerning, it does not represent a widespread infiltration of organized crime in the service.

Floria is charged with: two counts of breach of trust, two counts of attempt to obstruct justice, accessory after the fact of kidnapping, and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Police allege he conducted computerized checks using other police officers' badge numbers to avoid detection, outlined methods of avoiding police detection when involved in drug trafficking, and withheld information and obstructed an investigation into a kidnapping.

Police said their eight-month investigation thwarted a plan to kidnap a member of the organization "they felt responsible for a lost load of marijuana."

He appeared in Scarborough court this morning and was released on bail. He is now under suspension with pay.

Police arrested 24 people in total.

Police say the gang was an eastern European ring operating in Hungary, Algeria and Romania.

Marijuana was imported from B.C. and taken to Toronto, which was the major distribution point to cities in the United States, police said at the press conference.

Police executed 29 searches and seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $3 million, plus cocaine worth $30,000. In addition, $487,000 in Canadian currency and $41,000 in American currency was seized. Police also found three handguns and seized two stolen vehicles.

Police say the drugs were hidden in trucks, cars and trains.

Police say they have made a "big dent" into the eastern European criminal connection.

More arrests are expected.

Police say they had difficulty arresting "one of their own,".

Several police organizations across Canada and the U.S. were involved in the investigation.

Copyright 2007 Toronto Star

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