N.S. RCMP officer charged with theft of cocaine, trafficking
A Nova Scotia RCMP officer is facing a slew of charges after cocaine disappeared from an exhibit locker in 2011.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Craig Robert Burnett is facing charges of theft of cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, breach of trust and laundering proceeds of crime.
Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team laid the charges against Burnett on Thursday .
“This certainly is the most complex in terms of corruption investigation that we have been involved in,” says Ron MacDonald of the N.S. Serious Incident Response Team.
Burnett, 48, has spent half his career in Nova Scotia, most recently at the RCMP communications centre in Truro, N.S as a Risk Manager.
The RCMP contacted SIRT in September 2015 after receiving information that an officer had allegedly stolen 10 kilograms of cocaine from an exhibit locker and then replaced the drugs with another substance in 2011.
“He is currently suspended with pay,” says Corporal Jennifer Clarke of the N.S. RCMP. “The internal process to suspend his pay and benefits is underway.”
The officer is also alleged to have given the cocaine to someone else, who then sold it and shared the proceeds.
“The RCMP has rigorous policies and procedures in place in relation to the handling of exhibits,” says Cpl. Clarke. “We don’t have any evidence to suggest there are issues with the way things are done right now, but none the less, we will be conducting a variety of administrative reviews.”
SIRT says the drugs were going to be destroyed as they were no longer evidence in a court case.
RCMP members from Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland conducted the investigation, under the independent oversight of SIRT Director Ron MacDonald.
Veronica Stinson teaches how law and psychology intersect, and says while people may jump to conclusions, everyone is entitled to a fair trial.
“I think it’s important that we reserve judgement and we let the process unfold,” says Stinson.
Staff Sergeant Burnett was released from custody on Thursday until his next court appearance.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl