A Montrealer who was paid $500 for importing 64 kilograms of coke was found guilty on Wednesday, even though he said he thought it was tobacco bricks.
“In view of the large quantity of cocaine in question and the value it may represent, it is permissible to infer that such a quantity of narcotics would not have been entrusted to a person who did not know the nature of the contents of the bags or packages”, argued judge Pierre Dupras, condemning Tudor Donciu.
The 35-year-old man found himself in the crosshairs of the police in April 2019.
The previous week, a ship from Mexico to the Port of Montreal had attracted attention. During an inspection, border services officers had discovered the cocaine there, hidden in drawers on shelves in a container.
Notified of the situation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had decided to make a controlled delivery, in order to set a trap for the suspects behind this importation worth more than $2.5 million in the street.
The authorities took possession of the 64 bricks of powder with a purity between 84 and 86%, to replace it with… brown sugar.
The container was brought to a warehouse in Montreal. That’s when Donciu arrived on the scene with an accomplice to recover the drugs, with hockey bags they had just bought. He was to receive $500 for this work.
But “panic sets in” when the accused discovered the brown sugar and wanted to leave, said Judge Dupras. Shortly after, the police arrived to arrest them.
“We just got busted,” Donciu then dropped, hearing the sirens of emergency vehicles.
According to his testimony during his trial, the accused did not understand why there was such a deployment, because he was convinced that it was tobacco.
The Judge Doesn’t Believe Him
He said he first imported tobacco a few months before his arrest and assumed it was the same this time around.
However, Judge Dupras did not believe his version, relying in particular on the evidence collected from the criminal’s two cell phones.
“The accused knew it was cocaine,” he concluded, adding that Donciu was a “person experienced in drug trafficking.”
The magistrate, therefore, found him guilty of importing narcotics and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Observations on the defendant’s sentence will take place later this month.
His accomplice, Patrick Simionescu, was sentenced to 42 months in prison in July 2021 after pleading guilty.