Port Metro Vancouver dockworker and Ontario-based leader of a major international drug ring Nick Nero was handed a 22-year prison sentence recently for his involvement in smuggling around 400 kilograms of cocaine at an estimated cost of around US$1.9 billion a year.
The bust has lifted the lid on how criminals navigate port security in order to smuggle drugs and contraband.
In this case it was via the use of encrypted BlackBerry text messages, according to the Canadian National Post.
PTI previously reported on the seizure of around 459kg of cocaine at Canada’s Port of Halifax. Authorities made the discovery after searching a container ship that had originated from Argentina that had also passed through the Panama Canal.
An encrypted BlackBerry message read: “Hi bro. I am with my buddy. He is ready any time. All the ship come from south come to port here. I need transporter name and container number when U ready.”
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Nick Nero also used email to communicate with drug smugglers at various Vancouver ports. One email said: “All we need is container #. Peru is direct to Vancouver. My ‘off’ says he will take it off no problem.”
It has transpired that ‘off’ is slang for a corrupt port connection who can off-load drugs.
There have been many incidents involving the smuggling of drugs around the world, including 100kg of cocaine seized at Plymouth Port, UK, as well as the 300kg of cocaine intercepted by a joint-operation involving the border force at Portsmouth International Port.