Ontario cop and former cop charged in Canada-U.S. cheese smuggling operation

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ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - A southern Ontario police force has charged one current and one former officer in a "large-scale" scheme to smuggle cheese and other food items into Canada.

Niagara Regional Police say cases of cheese and other foods were purchased in the U.S. and smuggled into Canada, without declaring the items or paying duty.

The items were then prepared for distribution to restaurants in southern Ontario.

Police say the investigation revealed over $200,000 worth of cheese and other products were purchased and distributed for an estimated profit of more than $165,000.

Niagara police Const. Scott Heron, 39, faces charges that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, false or deceptive statements, and acquiring or disposing of illegally imported goods.

Police say Casey Langelaan, 48, who was a police officer at the time of the alleged offences, faces counts that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and various Customs Act charges including smuggling.

A third man, Bernie Pollino, 44, faces similar charges to Heron and Langelaan.

All three suspects are from Fort Erie, Ont.

Niagara chief Jeffrey McGuire suspended Heron and Langelaan from duty on July 26 in accordance with the Police Services Act.

In a statement, a police spokesman says Langelaan is no longer with the force.

The investigation began in January and involved investigators from the Niagara Regional Police Service, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Organizations: Niagara, Police Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Canada Border Services Agency

Geographic location: Canada, U.S., Ontario Southern Ontario Fort Erie

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