NRP investigating alleged internal drug network
Niagara Regional Police are looking into allegations of a drug smuggling ring within their ranks.
The arrest of a 13-year veteran of the NRP in April got the ball rolling.
Constable Geoff Purdie is alleged to have travelled back & forth between Fort Erie & Niagara Falls, NY to pick up drugs from a mailbox in the name of the owner of FITMASS--a fitness & health store in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Investigators from both sides of the border seized $580 000 in drugs--steroids, testosterone, Valium, Xanax & a product used to make the "date rape drug". Purdie is charged with conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute controlled substances.
An investigative team made up of members of a handful of police & border agencies are looking into the possibility that Purdie may not be the only NRP officer involved in cross-border smuggling. There may be a network that pushes steroids across southern Ontario.
The CBC reports there's been a shakeup at the Fort Erie police detachment where Purdie worked. NRP Chief Jeff McGuire doesn't think that's accurate. He says people have been moved around & re-assigned to deal with the hole left by Purdie's suspension. For McGuire, to say there've been major changes at the detachment because of alleged drug activity, casts suspicion on the 50 men & women who work in Fort Erie. The Chief says that's "incredibly unfair".
McGuire admits 1 officer somewhere within the force has been suspended, but wouldn't reveal who, where or why. The Chief says the officer hasn't been told yet why they are off the job, only that it has to do with an "ongoing investigation".
The NRP's professional standards group is looking to see how far the "Purdie issue" goes. McGuire says if other officers are found to be involved they will be held to account.
The Chief doesn't think an NRP officer being caught with steroids is a sign of a problem with the drug within the force. Still, he says he'll "pay attention and see what's going on".
**PHOTO: NRP Chief Jeff McGuire