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Five charged with drug trafficking


Five people have been arrested for drug trafficking as part of Project Bustle, an investigation of interprovincial drug trafficking by RCMP NL’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit.


Officers arrested three of the five on December 22, 2022, in the Corner Brook area.


The investigation began in February 2021. As part of this investigation, four homes and a commercial storage unit in this province were searched between November-December, 2022.


Search warrants were executed at four homes in the communities of St. John’s, Gander, Appleton and Humber Valley Resort, as well as at a commercial storage unit in Corner Brook.


Multiple items were seized including approximately eight kilograms of cocaine, more than $173,000.00 cash, drug paraphernalia, and other items consistent with drug trafficking.


Stephen Kelly, age 42, who resided in St. John’s at the time of his arrest and now resides in Gander faces charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, four counts of trafficking cocaine, two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, and possession of proceeds of crime.


Kathleen Pelley, age 33 of Gander is charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine, trafficking cocaine, and possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.


Clifford Mugford, age 33 of Appleton is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.


Shawn Gibbons, age 51 of Steady Brook is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.


Patrick Hickey, age 25 of Corner Brook faces a single count of trafficking cocaine.

Four of the accused, Kelly, Pelley, Hickey and Gibbons, are set to appear in Corner Brook Provincial Court on January 23. Additionally, Kelly and Mugford are set to appear in St. John’s Provincial Court on January 30.


The investigation is continuing with further charges expected.

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