Canada – Report: RCMP Knew About Cocaine Shipment & Allowed Airline Crew To Be Detained For Months Without Intervening Says Pivot Airlines

CTV News reports

The RCMP knew about a potential cocaine shipment from the Dominican Republic to Toronto aboard a Canadian charter flight but inexplicably allowed the crew that discovered and reported the drugs to be detained for months without intervening, a W5 investigation has revealed.

Through emails and a police source, W5 has learned the RCMP was seeking intel on at least two Pivot Airline passengers — with extensive ties to Alberta’s drug trade — as early as February of 2022.

Less than two months later, in April, the crew found more than 200 kilos of cocaine in the avionics bay of their plane at Punta Cana airport.

They were subsequently arrested, jailed and detained for eight months in the Dominican Republic.

“I find it surprising that [RCMP] wouldn’t have intervened right away, investigation or no investigation,” said Garry Clement, a former RCMP superintendent who specializes in financial and transnational crime syndicates. “Why would you allow the crew to languish in prison? That shouldn’t have happened.”

The revelations, which come months after W5’s investigation into the 12 Canadians trapped in the Dominican Republic, raises troubling questions about why authorities allowed the crew to remain under foreign detention for so long, and why more wasn’t done to advocate for their release.

“That is so disturbing,” said Pivot Airlines flight attendant Alex Roznov. “You expect more from the Canadian government.”

For months the RCMP refused to answer any specific questions about what they knew and when, but have now admitted to having prior knowledge of a potential drug smuggling conspiracy.

In an emailed statement, an RCMP spokesperson said the Mounties learned of a possible drug shipment arriving by air from the Dominican Republic in February and that a “plane was intercepted and searched however no drugs were located.”


In a previous investigation, W5 revealed that a fake company, Trust Capital, paid for two Pivot Airlines charters to the Dominican Republic: one in February 2022 and another in April 2022.

It’s not clear which flight RCMP searched but Pivot Airlines CEO Eric Edmondson said it wasn’t the one the company flew back from the Dominican Republic in February.

As for the April 2022 cocaine shipment, RCMP said they only learned of this after the drugs were discovered in the Dominican Republic.

But the RCMP, W5 learned, did have two Edmonton-based passengers on their radar prior to that: Sheldon Poirier and Shaun Kociancic.

Both have extensive criminal records including possession for the purpose of trafficking and trafficking controlled substance convictions in Alberta. W5 previously revealed many of the passengers from both flights had a history with drugs.

It’s not clear what the status of the RCMP investigation is at this point and whether any of the passengers have been interviewed.

Former RCMP superintendent Clement believes there is more than enough evidence to start producing search warrants that could lead to a number of charges, including conspiracy to import cocaine.

“The longer you let it go, the more difficult it’s going to become,” he said.

The Canadian crew, however, just wants answers.

“I want to know why [Canadian authorities] let us stay there for eight months,” said Pivot Airlines pilot Rob DiVenanzo. “I want to know from law enforcement, what did you know? Because if you can put an international airline crew’s lives in danger, you’re going to do that to any member of society… We could have been killed in jail.”


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