Guilty plea in cocaine, handgun trafficking ring

Some of the drugs and roughly $100,000 in cash shown May 28, 2015 following a multi-police force investigation called Project Harden. The investigation culminated May 27, 2015 with the arrests of eight people. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – An Ottawa man, caught in the takedown of a large-scale handgun and drug running operation, has pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine.

Mesaed Rashed, 28, pleaded guilty this afternoon (Thursday Sept. 29) to a single count of trafficking.

He is facing three other charges – possession for the purpose of trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as well as two Criminal Code charges of possession of property obtained by crime and breach of recognizance.

“It may be on future dates that further pleas are entered before you or before, whichever justice happens to be there that day,” Federal Crown Attorney Claude Richer told Judge Franco Giamberardino.

A pre-sentence report has been ordered, but will not likely be completed before the matter is heard again in six weeks.

Richer told court the synopsis of events, known as an agreed statement of facts, will show “a series of transactions” where Rashed had sold cocaine to an undercover police agent.

Rashed was among eight people arrested in May 2015 during a massive police operation dubbed Project Harden.

Officers had executed six search warrants and seized various amounts of cocaine, marijuana and weapons, including an AK-47 and handguns.

Rashed’s matter will be heard again on Nov. 22, 2016.

He is being represented by Ottawa lawyer Israel Gencher.

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