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Iqaluit drug bust nets Viagra
Two men arrested at Montreal airport with $88,000

Terrence McEachern
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 21, 2011

IQALUIT - The Iqaluit RCMP are investigating an unusual drug bust in the city on July 13 in which, among other items, 761 pills of Viagra were discovered.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Iqaluit RCMP seized 761 pills believed to be counterfeit Viagra among other drug-related items during a drug bust in a residence in the city on July 13. - photo courtesy of Iqaluit RCMP

"This was the first time investigators had seen Viagra on the street in Iqaluit and the investigation or intelligence does not suggest that this drug is commonly sold on the street." stated RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Jimmy Akavak in a July 20 e-mail.

Two men, ages 43 and 21, were arrested on July 13 at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal after arriving from Iqaluit. They were arrested while claiming their luggage, and were found with $88,000 in cash, according to a July 15 press release. The arrests were part of a two-week investigation and surveillance of a house in Iqaluit.

Through a search warrant for the residence, identified as 1690-B in Iqaluit, the RCMP discovered a rifle and ammunition, a money counter and various items used in drug trafficking in addition to the Viagra.

The two accused, both residents of Quebec, were staying at the residence while in Iqaluit, the press release further states. Surveillance tracked the two men from the residence to the Iqaluit airport where they subsequently boarded a plane for Montreal.

They have been charged with laundering the proceeds of a crime and possession of property obtained by crime. Akavak said the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be forthcoming in relation to the bust in Iqaluit. The names of the two accused, who have since been released from custody, were not released by the RCMP.

It could take months to conclusively confirm whether in fact the drug seized was a counterfeit form of Viagra, said Akavak, because samples of the drug had to be sent to a lab in Ottawa for testing.

Court dates have yet to be set, but given that the drugs and other items were found in Iqaluit and the money believed to be a part of the transaction was recovered from the suspects in Montreal, court appearances are expected in both cities. Akavak added that under the circumstances, it wouldn't be uncommon for the accused to apply to have one set of charges transferred to the other jurisdiction for convenience.

The "street value" of the drug was not known by the RCMP because Viagra is not typically a street drug. Viagra does retail for about $20 per pill at pharmacies, said Akavak.

Akavak suggested the need for Viagra sold outside of a pharmacy could be due to embarrassment in going to see a doctor for treatment for a condition such as erectile dysfunction as well as the cost of purchasing Viagra if the drug isn't covered by a health plan.

He added that Viagra is also known to be used along with cocaine, as it increases the heart rate and brings the effects of the cocaine quicker to the brain.

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