Four charged in dope, cocaine trafficking ring


First posted:

Ottawa police busted a "well-organized" drug ring trafficking marijuana and cocaine to Ottawa drug dealers, including one man who was arrested while working at The Brig pub on York St.

Staff Sgt. Pete Gauthier of the Drug Unit said the owners of the restaurant are not implicated, and said police only seized cash from the location when they raided the pub on Saturday night.

Police had been keeping surveillance on an organized group during a six month investigation dubbed Project Upsilon.

Police wouldn't say whether The Brig was under surveillance, but Gauthier said cops had "sufficient grounds to enter the bar," when executing a search warrant.

Owners of the restaurant were not immediately available for comment.

On Friday, police executed a "vehicle takedown," according to Gauthier, on Hwy. 417 at Boundary Road, where they arrested two people.

"They were heading towards the Cornwall area and (police) seized a fair quantity of marijuana and cocaine from the vehicle," said Gauthier. "From that arrest we obtained search warrants for various addresses in the city."

Among those addresses were residences on Benjamin Ave. and Churchill Ave., both raided on Friday afternoon, and The Brig, at 23 York St., which police raided on Saturday.

Police said they seized "a substantial quantity" of cocaine, marijuana, OxyContin, cash and vehicles during the bust.

"It is all related. (There were) four different locations, but all related," said Gauthier. "It's a very well-organized group that were operating here in the city. It was a substantial amount of cannabis and cocaine that was being trafficked to dealers."

Larry Labelle, 34, and Meagan Malone, 25, both of Cornwall, were arrested in the vehicle on Friday.

Both are jointly charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and marijuana and possession of proceeds of crime under $5,000.

Yianni Papadolias, 36, an employee of The Brig, was arrested Saturday and is charged with possession with the purpose of trafficking cocaine, marijuana and OxyContin, as well as trafficking cocaine and marijuana, and three counts of possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000.

Merith White, a 37-year-old Ottawa man, is charged with possession of cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking crack cocaine.

White was charged in 2006 with distributing cocaine and marijuana after police uncovered a pipeline of drugs coming to Ottawa via courier from Canada's west coast.

Police estimate the value of the weekend seizure at $500,000.