HomeNewsNew Brunswick - A New Gateway for Cocaine Routes into Canada?

New Brunswick - A New Gateway for Cocaine Routes into Canada?


One of Canada's largest-ever cocaine seizures has raised concerns over the role the province of New Brunswick may play in the global drug trade.

On March 3, following roughly a year of dutiful tracking, Canadian law enforcement revealed that in January, more than 1.5 tons of cocaine was seized in a shipping container at the Port of Saint John in the eastern province of New Brunswick.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that one man was charged on March 3 with importation and possession of a controlled substance.

SEE ALSO: Canada Drug Trafficking Groups Expanding Mexico Ties

Valued at nearly $200 million, the January seizure represented the largest in three decades along Canada's Atlantic Coast, according to local news.

While authorities have not yet named the country of origin, the CBSA maintained that the container contained heavy machinery exported out of Central America.

InSight Analysis

While the Port of Saint John has seen a smattering of cocaine low-quantity seizures over the years, January's discovery is in a class of its own, pointing to a possible rise in Canada's importance as an importer of cocaine.

The port had never recorded a seizure greater than 300 kilograms, and the CBSA typically only just reaches one ton in cocaine product seizures in Canada as a whole.

Greater interest from traffickers could raise those numbers in the country as well as the New Brunswick Port.

Saint John is a key node for the country's maritime trade, being the largest of its kind on Canada's eastern seaboard.

Bordering the US state of Maine to the south and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north, New Brunswick acts as a nifty bridge for traffickers between large ports in New England and valuable urban drug markets like Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Ottawa.

SEE ALSO: How Mexican Cartels Settled in Canada

InSight Crime spoke with Bob Van den Berghe, the regional coordinator of the UN’s Container Control Program (CCP), about efforts on behalf of Canadian law enforcement to maintain tight port security as a destination country for cocaine.

"Canada is a very important donor to our program so we work very closely together with the Canadian authorities." While the CCP focuses most of its efforts in the "source countries", it maintains contact with partners in the EU and North America. "We immediately report seizures to these destination countries such as Canada."

With total port seizures rising to 171 tons of cocaine in the last year and 30 tons just in the first two months of 2022, the CCPs work remains vital in stemming the flow to such destination countries. Canada however, may soon be seeing these shipments making their way into the nation's ports with greater frequency.

Mexican traffickers, in particular the Sinaloa Cartel, have worked to establish a more robust presence in the country.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content

COCAINE / 3 AUG 2021

An anti-narcotics operation in western Guatemala has shed further light on how families involved in local politics can play a…


Trinidad and Tobago's homicide rate has past 400 for the year and authorities appear unable to stop it.

BARRIO 18 / 24 MAR 2021

Though a relatively minor player in the transnational drug trade, El Salvador's overland smuggling routes have undergone a moderate revival…

About InSight Crime


Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.


InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.


Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …


InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…


Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…