Ontario drug bust includes arrest of police officer
BY JORDAN PRESS, POSTMEDIA NEWS APRIL 14, 2011
Hamilton police say they've made one of the largest crystal meth busts in Ontario history — which included the arrest of a city police officer.
On Wednesday morning, police raided 23 homes and businesses across Ontario. Officers seized 26 kilograms of crystal meth and anabolic steroids in the pre-dawn raids in Hamilton, Grimsby, Burlington, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Sudbury and Mississauga.
Police arrested 21 people.
Police said the drugs seized were valued at more than $4 million. The meth alone was worth more than $3 million.
On Thursday, police arrested one of their own for allegedly leaking police information to the main target of the investigation. The allegations have not been tested in court.
Const. Andrew Pauls, a nine-year member of the Hamilton force, is facing a charge of breach of trust. "He's been arrested and now those charges are before the court," Sgt. Terri-Lynn Collings said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Collings said Pauls was on suspension when he was arrested Thursday for a previous charge.
Last year, Pauls, who remains on paid suspension, was charged after drugs went missing from a police locker.
Collings said the arrest of an officer shouldn't paint the entire force. Hamilton officers, she said, are continuing to do their jobs.
"There's a lot of good work that does take place," Collings said. "From time to time these things do occur."
Dubbed "Project Newton," the 18-month investigation included more than 175 police officers from nine different police agencies, including the RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police. Collings said there were no indications the people arrested this week had gang affiliations. They also were not producing the drugs, but allegedly acting as middlemen and trafficking the drugs.
"This is a loosely knit group of individuals," Collings said.
Project Newton started with a tip about the trafficking of illegal steroids from a nutrition store in Hamilton.
"Through our investigation we also learned there was the distribution of methamphetamines," Collings said.
Police said they expect more arrests will be made in the coming days.
"We're always looking for the suppliers, not just the persons trafficking in them," Collings said.
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