AJAX, Ont. — A police force in southern Ontario says two of its officers are facing numerous charges related to an alleged local drug ring.
Durham Region police say the officers came under investigation as the force began looking into alleged activities at a bar in Ajax, Ont.
Police say they began looking into allegations of drug transactions and excessive alcohol service at the Black Bear Bar and Grill in the summer of 2016, and eventually discovered that the two officers were connected to the bar's owner.
On Tuesday, police arrested the two officers along with three other people and laid numerous charges related to the alleged trafficking of marijuana and cocaine.
Const. Husen Aswat, who has been with Durham Region police for nine years, is facing 19 charges including seven counts of breach of trust and four counts of trafficking in cocaine.
Eight-year force veteran Const. Amandeep Thakur is facing four charges including two counts of breach of trust and possession of property obtained by crime. Both officers are currently suspended from duty.
Three other men are facing a total of 23 charges between them. Police did not indicate whether the owner of the bar was included in those charged.
Durham Region police said the investigation was conducted in collaboration with officers from Toronto. Chief Paul Martin said the officers' alleged conduct was particularly troubling.
"Obviously it's very concerning and disappointing when we find ourselves investigating our own employees," he said in a statement.
When the force became aware of the possible involvement of its members, Martin said they conducted a "vigorous" investigation.
"No one is above the law and every one of our employees is accountable for their actions," he said. "I want to assure the community that this is not a reflection of our women and men who work so hard every day to uphold the law and keep our communities safe."
All five of the men charged have been held in custody for bail hearings.
The Canadian Press