One woman and three men from Nova Scotia are facing charges in connection with a two-year international drug trafficking investigation with ties to Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.

The RCMP launched Operation Harrington in the spring of 2013, after learning of an individual trying to import drugs from South America to Nova Scotia.

The investigation grew to involve RCMP in seven provinces, police in the Bahamas and St. Kitts and Nevis, and several other agencies including the FBI.

“I can tell you it is not often that a file of this magnitude and complexity occurs,” said Chief Supt. Marlene Snowman, the officer in charge of criminal operations for the N.S. RCMP.

Police say they uncovered eight conspiracies to import cocaine into Canada from a number of countries, including Antigua, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and the United States.

Police also completed four investigations related to cocaine trafficking and one investigation into the trafficking of firearms.

“Hundreds of officers logged thousands of investigative hours, culminating in arrests that have taken place over the last three days,” Snowman said.

Officers seized several vehicles, firearms, drug paraphernalia, cash and more than 200 kilograms of cocaine over the course of the investigation.

Three vehicles were towed away from a home in Bedford, N.S. on Monday and another vehicle was seized from a location on the Bedford Highway.

Police confirmed Tuesday that four people were arrested in Nova Scotia in connection with the investigation:

  • Gary Christopher Meister, 60, of Bedford - conspiracy to import cocaine (x2) and conspiracy to traffic cocaine (x2)
  • Stephen Alexander Fleming, 33, of Halifax – conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine
  • Delbert William Meister, 69, of Halifax – conspiracy to import cocaine (x2) and conspiracy to traffic cocaine (x2)
  • Darlene Margaret Richards, 54, of Greenwood - conspiracy to import cocaine (x2) and conspiracy to traffic cocaine (x2)

A total of 15 people in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario are facing 45 charges. Police say nine of the 15 have been arrested, but they are still looking for six suspects.

“Many of these players have played a substantial role in drug importations in Canada,” said Insp. Glenn Lambe, of the N.S. RCMP’s serious organized crime unit.              

All of the four Nova Scotians facing charges have been arrested.

One of them is employed with the Canadian Coast Guard while another works for the Department of National Defence.

“Our evidence demonstrates that these individuals were planning to import multi kilograms, loads of cocaine into Canada, via the East Coast from South America, destined to the Canadian Market,” said Mike Cabana, deputy RCMP commissioner for federal policing.

Among those charged, a familiar face: an arrest warrant has been issued for former Olympic snowboarder Ryan Wedding, of Montreal.

The 33-year-old was also linked to a massive marijuana bust in B.C. worth an estimated $10 million back in 2006.

All those arrested are due to appear in court in Montreal or Toronto.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jacqueline Foster