Canadian border officials made what they say is the largest narcotic seizure in Prairie history earlier this month.
Officers snatched 406.2 kilograms of what's believed to be methamphetamine from large suitcases inside a commercial truck on Jan. 14.
The semi-trailer, which was en route to Winnipeg, was searched at the Boissevain port of entry on Jan. 14, Ken MacGregor of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said at a news conference at Manitoba RCMP D Division headquarters in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The total amount of suspected drugs seized adds up to about four million illicit doses with an estimated street value of more than $50.7 million.
Insp. Joe Telus, division intelligence officer with RCMP federal policing, said the seizure has made communities safer.
"Large illicit drug shipments such as this one and the subsequent distribution of these drugs is closely associated with increased violence in our communities, as street gangs and organized crime networks fight over territory and who gets to sell to the users," Telus said at the news conference.
The driver has been identified as Komalpreet Sidhu, a 29-year-old man from Winnipeg. He was arrested and taken into custody by Manitoba RCMP, along with the suspected drugs.
Sidhu faces two charges, importation of methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. He is expected to appear in court on Feb. 1.
'We have to work backwards'
Telus said the truck came from the United States, and the drugs would have likely been distributed to locations across Manitoba and possibly in Western Canada and Ontario.
He said the truck has been linked to commercial trucking company based in Manitoba, where they believe the driver was employed, but have yet to confirm that information.
The size of the shipment suggests the transport of the drugs involved organized crime at the local, national and international level, Telus added.
"Every aspect of the semi's journey from the United States to Boissevain, as well as its final destination in Winnipeg, is being thoroughly investigated," he said.
MacGregor said 200 individually wrapped packages were discovered inside suitcases in the trailer.
He said the agency uses a "risk-assessment approach" for all commercial loads coming into Canada, and the truck had been selected for further assessment when it arrived at the port at about 10 p.m.
Officials from the RCMP, CBSA and international law enforcement agencies are investigating, Telus said. The investigation is expected to be more complicated, since authorities will have to find out where the drugs came from now that they've seized them.
"We have to work backwards,"Telus said. "We need to find out exactly where it came from and what they intended to do with it."
The drugs will eventually be destroyed, Telus said.