(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
by Michael Winter, USA TODAY
Canadian authorities say two police constables helped smuggle more than $200,000 worth of cheaper U.S. cheeses and other foods across the border from Buffalo to sell to pizzerias and restaurants.
The Niagara Regional Police Service announced today that the pair, one of whom has been fired, were arrested and charged, along with a third man. Charges against the three, all from Fort Erie, Ontario, include smuggling and other customs violations.
Constables Scott Heron, 39, and Casey Langelaan, 48, were suspended in June amid the investigation. Langelaan
was subsequently fired.
The "large-scale" cheese-smuggling operation emerged from the April arrest of another NRPS constable in Buffalo on charges of trying to smuggle more than $1 million in anabolic steroids and other drugs into Canada, the CBC reported earlier this week.
The police service says "the network" bought cases of cheese and foods on the U.S. side of the border, then drove them into Canada without declaring the goods or paying duty. The products were then sold at discounts to pizza parlors and other restaurants in southern Ontario, netting the smugglers a profit of about $165,000.
Dairy regulations and import controls on U.S. products can mean Canadian cheese costs up to three times more than across the Niagara River.
A Canadian border agency spokeswoman told the BBC that only $20 worth or 44 pounds of dairy products can be brought into Canada duty free.