HomeNewsNew 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 / 7 SEP 2022

César Peralta, alias "El Abusador," became the most powerful and well-connected drug trafficker in the Dominican Republic.

COCAINE / 4 FEB 2021

Drug trafficking has been reconfigured in Guatemala. The large clans that traditionally dominated the business have broken up.

AUC / 23 NOV 2022

A close relationship between a Colombian warlord and an Italian restaurateur would lead to Europe being flooded with cocaine by…

About InSight Crime


Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…


World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…


InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…


Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…


‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…