After a long investigation, charges of illegally exporting the drug ephedrine have been laid against the owner of two local health and fitness businesses.
According to a news release sent Thursday afternoon by the RCMP, the charges were the result of an investigation by the RCMP’s St. John’s federal operations section into Robert King, who owns Heavyweights Fitness and Nutritional Products in St. John’s and Heavyweights Fitness Centre in Mount Pearl.
Ephedrine, often used for weight loss, is a key ingredient in crystal meth and is included in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Under that act, King has been charged with unlawful exportation from Canada of a substance, unlawful possession for the purpose of export from Canada, and unlawful attempt to export from Canada.
He is scheduled to appear in court on those charges Oct. 2.
Between April 2012 and November 2012, the RCMP seized 44 packages of ephedrine from Canada Post, which were considered key evidence in the investigation.
King’s lawyer, Averill Baker, argued June 25 the seized pills were King's property and that investigators overstepped their boundaries by keeping them longer than they were permitted. Further, she said the RCMP had already obtained an extension of time to keep the seized pills, but the extension was improperly obtained.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Brown and Judge Jim Walsh agreed the mistakes were made but were not intentional. Walsh said it was “in the interest of justice” for police to hold on to the evidence in order for officers to properly conduct the investigation.
King is also being investigated for money laundering and laundering proceeds of crime.