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4 accused in RCMP's 'Project Bustle' drug investigation make 1st court appearances

RCMP charge five people in connection with a major cocaine and cash seizure with connections to the Corner Brook area. Police say they found 8 kilograms and more than $173,000.  (RCMP - image credit)
RCMP charge five people in connection with a major cocaine and cash seizure with connections to the Corner Brook area. Police say they found 8 kilograms and more than $173,000. (RCMP - image credit)
RCMP charge five people in connection with a major cocaine and cash seizure with connections to the Corner Brook area. Police say they found 8 kilograms and more than $173,000.
RCMP charge five people in connection with a major cocaine and cash seizure with connections to the Corner Brook area. Police say they found 8 kilograms and more than $173,000.

The RCMP have charged five people in connection with a major cocaine and cash seizure with connections to the Corner Brook area. (RCMP)

Four people charged following a substantial drug bust made their first appearance, by telephone, in Corner Brook provincial court Tuesday.

In December, the RCMP announced that a drug investigation named "Project Bustle" had resulted in the search of homes in St. John's, Gander and Appleton, as well as Humber Valley Resort and a commercial storage unit, and the seizure of eight kilograms of cocaine and more than $173,000.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Jolene Garland said the amount of cocaine seized was significant and a success for the police.

"We suspect that would have been further processed and cut down to make more product before it actually hits the streets. A very conservative street value of this product, we are looking at in excess of a million dollars," said Garland.

Several people involved with drug trafficking appeared by phone in the Corner Brook courthouse today.
Several people involved with drug trafficking appeared by phone in the Corner Brook courthouse today.

Four people charged in the case appeared by phone in Corner Brook court Tuesday. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

Kathleen Pelley, 33, of Gander faces conspiracy to traffic cocaine, trafficking cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Sean Gibbons, 51, of Steady Brook faces one charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking charge.

Patrick Hickey, 25, of Corner Brook faces one charge of trafficking cocaine.

Stephen Kelly, 42, of Gander faces the most charges: four counts of trafficking cocaine, two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, and one count each of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and possession of proceeds of a crime.

Judge Wayne Gorman set Hickey's case over for Feb. 27 while the others are scheduled to make their next court appearances March 11.

Cpl. Jolene Garland is the Media Relations Officer with RCMP NL
Cpl. Jolene Garland is the Media Relations Officer with RCMP NL

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jolene Garland said the amount of cocaine seized is significant. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Kelly is also facing drug trafficking charges in court in St. John's later this month, along with a fifth accused, Clifford Mugford. The charges are all related to the same investigation by the RCMP's serious and organized crime unit.

Garland said there may be more arrests and charges to come as a result of the investigation.

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