Friday, June 2, 2017

RCMP recognized in “Fruit Grinder” case

15 police officers involved in the “Fruit Grinder” case received awards. The probe began with a “super-heavy” piece of equipment traveling from Argentina through Miami to Vancouver and Kelowna.
The reason the 2,300-kilogram fruit-grinding machine seemed excessive in weight was because it was being deployed to smuggle nearly 100 kilograms of cocaine into Canada. Clifford Roger Montgomery, Tariq Mohammed Aslam, and Salvador Ascencio-Chavez of Mexico conspired to smuggle 97 kilograms of coke inside the steel drums of a fruit grinder in September 2010.

Once reassembled, police shipped the grinder by truck to Kelowna. After hauling it to a ranch near Merritt, the trio was recorded by police trying to break open the fruit grinder to recover the cocaine on Oct. 1, 2010.
The three men were all found guilty in 2014. Chavez was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but with credit for time served, will serve just over half that time. The scheme involved packing the almost-pure cocaine inside a 2,400-kg fruit grinder shipped from Argentina to a storage facility in Kelowna. Border officers in Vancouver found the contraband. They alerted RCMP investigators, who dismantled the machine, replaced most of the coke with placebo and planted a listening device.