Principal, doctor, Olympian arrested in N.S. drug bust
Published Friday, December 14, 2012 12:38PM AST
Last Updated Friday, December 14, 2012 6:49PM AST
An elementary school principal, a medical doctor, and an Olympian are among 29 people caught up in a major drug bust in Nova Scotia.
Police have laid over 90 charges in the Halifax area following an 11-month investigation into Nova Scotia’s illegal drug trade.
Investigators say they believe the sophisticated marijuana grow operation and drug trafficking network existed for much longer.
“This operation focused on a group of individuals operating in an organized manner, cultivating and trafficking marijuana,” says Staff Sgt. Roddie MacDonald.
A team of about 120 officers from the RCMP, Halifax Regional Police, and the Truro Police Service searched 14 locations Thursday morning
Police seized 45.5 pounds of dried marijuana, over 2,200 marijuana plants, roughly $250,000 worth of marijuana production equipment and more than $100,000 in cash.
They also seized five vehicles and four long guns in the bust, which took place in the Porters Lake area, Lawrencetown, Hammonds Plains, Cole Harbour, Dartmouth and Halifax.
Police have charged 28 of the 29 people arrested. A medical doctor is among those arrested, but he has not been charged.
“The investigation revealed that those members of this group were manipulating the medical marijuana access regulations,” says Chief Supt. Brian Brennan.
Police have not named the doctor, but the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia suspended Dr. Dinesh Shinha’s medical licence Friday morning.
“This is an authority that our committees have when there are concerns about public safety,” says Dr. Gus Grant.
CTV News interviewed Sinha in 2007 when his office was at the centre of a suspicious fire.
No charges were ever laid in the case.
No one answered the door at Sinha’s Halifax office today. He has been practicing medicine in Nova Scotia for more than 40 years.
“At some of the residences that were searched, the occupants did have a medical licence to grow marijuana,” says MacDonald. “However, the individuals arrested were accused of illegally selling that marijuana.”
One of those charged is the principal of a Halifax school.
St. Stephens Elementary sent home a letter to parents, explaining Tyler Rutledge has been placed on administrative leave,
“I imagine his career is probably toast, but other than that, it’s just a really straightforward letter,” says parent Chris Yeats. “They’ve got a new principal coming in as acting principal Monday.”
Another name listed on a long list of names from police is former Olympic athlete Mihai Apostol.
The 28 people charged face a total of 97 charges which include production of marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana, trafficking marijuana, conspiracy to produce marijuana, and conspiracy to traffic marijuana.
Police say more charges are pending.
· Mark David Smith, 51, Lawrencetown
· Craig Cox, 38, Lawrencetown
· Christa Cox, 31, Lawrencetown
· Tyler Gregory Rutledge, 40, Dartmouth
· Kristopher John Matthews, 36, Cole Harbour
· Troy Dunphy, 28, Cole Harbour
· Mihai Apostol, 41, Halifax
· Kenneth Greer, 40, Halifax
· Matthew Edwin Hinch, 35, Seaforth
· Amanda Marie Romo, 23, Seaforth
· Paul Howard Dunphy, 41, Porters Lake
· Brian Joseph Boudreau, 35, Porters Lake
· Paula Butler, 29, Porters Lake
· George Abboud, 40, Porters Lake
· Joel Alexander Bissett, 26, Porters Lake
· Matthew James Pye, 30, Porters Lake
· Marty Allen Rutledge, 48, Porters Lake
· Brian Leo Hinch, 61, Middle Porters Lake
· Elizabeth Darlene Hinch, 57, Middle Porters Lake
· Stephen John Dunphy, 53, Waverley
· Frances Cornelius Hum, 62, Beaver Bank
· Robert Clement MacDonald, 67, Halifax
· Chad Bailey, 34, Halifax
· Richard Kung, 34, Hammonds Plains
· Jared Curtis Mallay, 33, West Porters Lake
· Kenneth Pittman, 60, Enfield
· Roger Stubbs, 39, East Preston
· Edward Sabbagh, 34, unknown address
The accused are due to appear in Dartmouth provincial court and Halifax provincial court on March 13.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell