A joint drug trafficking investigation involving the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has netted formal charges against eight people alleged to be involved with a drug trafficking network targeting Bermuda.

This after fentanyl was imported into the island from Canada in December 2016.

The subsequent investigation that took place in the Greater Toronto area resulted in formal charges being laid against following eight arrests in Canada for conspiracy and drug trafficking charges.

According to the statement released by Police Media Relations, the drug raid netted fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, cannabis, counterfeit US currency, 12 handguns, ammunition, a grenade and $29,000 in Canadian cash.

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said officers from the Organised and Economic Crime Department were involved in the investigation as part of an effort to “tackle transnational crime to suppress dangerous drugs from entering Bermuda and dismantle the conspiracy network involved”.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Sean Field-Lament said: “Transnational organised crime is a global threat. Only with professional mutual assistance and support can it be effectively and efficiently tackled.

“The hard work of local OCED officers was invaluable in the success of the RCMP operation in dismantling this drug trafficking network which had been targeting Bermuda among its myriad of criminal activities.

“This fantastic result should send a strong message to those intending to smuggle dangerous drug and prohibited items across Canadian and Bermudian borders.”

Canadian Jacqueline Robinson was jailed for seven years last July, after she admitted swallowing 45 pellets of fentanyl before boarding a commercial airline flight to Bermuda from Toronto in December, 2016.

The drugs had an estimated street value of nearly $800,000. Two men were found not guilty of related charges.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said yesterday: “The 18-month joint investigation stems from the arrest of two Canadian nationals in Bermuda for importing fentanyl into Bermuda from Canada.

“The ensuing Canadian investigation led to uncovering several criminal networks involved in illicit drug trafficking activities throughout the GTA.”

Those arrested and charged in Canada are Robert Collins, 37, Stephanie Legge, 31, Faruk Sebastian Portobanco, 39, Jean Simmons, 43, Lemar Patrick Burke, 26, Brian Luckman, 49, Craig Lawrence, 37, and Desmond Kerr, 47. All eight defendants are from Ontario.

A BPS spokesman said: “The joint inter-agency collaboration demonstrates that the Bermuda Police Service and their international law enforcement partners mutual commitment in tackling transnational crime.”

Inspector Donna Streeter, officer in charge at Toronto North Serious and Organised Crime Team, said: “Serious and Organised Crime in Canada is a multifaceted and borderless problem impacting all Canadians, directly or indirectly.

“Through a variety of specialised programmes and teams, the RCMP combats serious and organised crime by implementing intelligence-led police operations with the collaboration of domestic and international partners.”

Anyone with information about criminal activity should call police on 295-0011 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 800-8477.