Posted: Jul 31, 2012 7:42 AM by Jen Hollenbach - MTN News
GREAT FALLS- A drug trafficking organization smuggled more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine from the U.S. to Canada over the course of 22 trips, investigators said at a press conference Monday.
Two Canadian citizens have been charged and sentenced in Great Falls while another 15 have been arrested in Canada in connection with the investigation, and authorities say that additional arrests are expected.
United States Attorney for the District of Montana Michael Cotter held a press conference on Monday in Great Falls to discuss the results of a large, transnational narcotics investigation.
The investigation, named Project White Rhino, was launched in April 2011 after a traffic stop in Saskatchewan raised suspicions.
It led a team of investigators to one of their largest drug seizures to date with authorities saying the estimated street value of the drugs seized is $17.5 million.
More than 12 agencies from the United States and Canada played a role in the investigation. "We can't do it alone. You simply can't. No one agency has the capacity do it all by itself and we have to be able to collaborate," Cotter said.
"Our partnerships are extremely important to us, both domestically and internationally. And we happened to have really really quality relationships with our U.S. partners in this part of the country," Mercer Armstrong, one of the agents involved in the investigation, noted.
Officials from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Customs & Border Patrol were on hand for Monday's announcement.