Insp. Max Waddell, head of Winnipeg’s Guns and Gang Unit, speaking at a Winnipeg Police Services press conference on Thursday morning, March 12.

Abbotsford man arrested in massive cocaine bust by Winnipeg police

19 kilograms of cocaine with street value of $1.5 million seized

An Abbotsford man is facing a raft of charges stemming from a massive-drug bust by Winnipeg police on Sunday, March 8,

Balbir Singh Nahal, 36, was arrested after police officers observed him and another suspect, 42-year old Jay Marte Santos, allegedly make a drug transaction at a Winnipeg gas bar, according to a Winnipeg Police Services press conference on Thursday morning.

Insp. Max Waddell, head of Winnipeg’s Guns and Gang Unit, said this was largest single seizure he can remember in his 26 years in law enforcement.

“Disrupting this particular group is hopefully sending a message to others that are doing this, that there’s going to be significant consequences for trafficking this amount of illicit drugs,” he said. “What’s particularly concerning is the fact that cocaine continues to be a mainstay illicit drug among drug users.”

The initial search of the vehicles the suspects were driving, a Jeep Wrangler and a semi-tractor-trailer, turned up four kilograms of cocaine. Upon further inspection of the semi-trailer, an additional 15 kilograms of cocaine and 20 pounds of marijuana were discovered.

The total street value of the cocaine is over $1.5 million, while the pot is worth over $90,000.

The arrests follow a months-long police investigation into a drug network between the provinces which has been operating since October, 2019, according to Waddell. He said the network was suspected of trafficking large shipments of cocaine from B.C. and one suspect made regular transit between the two cities.

Both vehicles were seized by police and both suspects remain in custody. Police say their investigation continues, but no further arrests are planned.

Nahal’s criminal history in B.C. is not extensive, but he was charged with assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats in June, 2018.

RELATED: Three 16-year-olds arrested after $30K, guns and drugs seized in Kelowna raid

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