The RCMP Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) have dismantled a major organized crime cell that was using asphalt powder to smuggle cocaine into Canada.
"Seventeen individuals face charges mainly related to cocaine trafficking," said an RCMP press release.
"The objective of this well-structured network was to control drug trafficking in the greater Montréal area as well as the Atlantic Provinces. The arrests were made in the greater Montréal area."
The RCMP announced on Feb. 4 that investigators targeted the organization's main leaders and key players forming the Silvano cell.
The accused face a number of charges, including gangsterism, drug importation, trafficking and possession.
"One of the cocaine seizures made in the course of the investigation revealed that the network used an unusual method to smuggle drugs into the country by mixing the cocaine with asphalt powder," said the release. "This highly technical and sophisticated process consists in concealing the drugs using molecular docking. One of the accused, considered as the chemist of the group, was responsible for extracting the cocaine from the legitimate substance."
Molecular docking is a key tool in structural molecular biology and computer-assisted drug design. The investigation showed that the group dealt in large quantities of cocaine.
This cell was linked to the Bastone and De Vito cells that were dismantled in a round-up conducted on June 12, 2014.