Mexican authorities break up drug ring accused of moving cocaine to Canada

Tuesday, June 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Police in Mexico arrested three men suspected of setting up a phony export business to smuggle Colombian cocaine to Canada, officials said.

Kenneth Charles Fisher, a Canadian, and Arnulfo Pisllonett and Raul Rivas Escalante, both Mexican, were arrested last Thursday after a four-month investigation, authorities announced Monday.

The three men ran a business that flew large containers of house plants and fresh vegetables from Mexico City to Montreal, said Jose Santiago Vasconcelos, head of the Justice Department's organized crime unit.

They are accused of packing small bags of cocaine into potted plants and flowers, possibly to thwart drug-sniffing dogs, Vasconcelos said.

Authorities did not release hometowns or ages for any of the suspects.

Acting on a tip from Canadian authorities, anti-narcotics agents at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport searched a shipment of house plants last week and found 12 pounds of cocaine, Vasconcelos said.

Officers then raided the exporting company's headquarters in a rented Mexico City home, where they found another 12 pounds of cocaine, he said.

Vasconcelos said five more arrest warrants have been issued for Mexican suspects believed to have ties to a regional drug trafficking gang.