NEWS: Iqaluit June 04, 2014 - 10:19 am

Nunavut RCMP arrest two men following Iqaluit marijuana seizure

Police grab seven pounds of pot, $16,500 in cash


(Updated June 4, 10:20 a.m.)

Nunavut RCMP have arrested two men alleged to be involved with a marijuana trafficking ring between Iqaluit and Montreal.

Police arrested the men — 30-year-old Matthew Kipanik of Iqaluit, and 22-year-old Bruce Tshibangu, a “part-time” resident of the community — on May 27 at an apartment in the eight-story high-rise.

Each has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, the RCMP said June 3. Police did not release their names.

At the apartment, police seized seven pounds, or 3.2 kilograms, of marijuana and $16,500 in cash, RCMP Sgt. Yvonne Niego said at a press conference, where investigators displayed the items.

The seizures included eight cellphones and cellphone parts, a weighing scale, a laptop, a tablet computer, and keys to an unknown vehicle.

The illegal drugs were intended for sale in Iqaluit, Niego alleged.

The 22-year-old was charged with one count of trafficking, three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and one count of possession of property obtained through crime, Niego said. He will appear in court June 17.

The 30-year-old Iqaluit resident was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and resisting arrest. He will appear in court July 7.

Police obtained warrants to carry out the seizure after a six-month investigation, said Const. Stephan Kilabuk, lead investigator on the case.

The drugs came to Iqaluit from Montreal, where the 22-year-old is alleged to do most of his business, Kilabuk said.

As far as drug investigations go, the case “could open the door to further opportunities for us to explore, but for the time being, this is as far as it’s going to go,” Kilabuk said.

Niego credited Iqaluit residents and businesses for their cooperation in the arrests.