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Police arrest 3 after seizing drugs concealed in rice sacks from India

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A sea container containing over 500 sacks of rice is pictured in a handout photo released on Thursday August 7, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP

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A sea container containing over 500 sacks of rice is pictured in a handout photo released on Thursday August 7, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP

TORONTO - Three Ontario residents are facing charges after police say they found large amounts of a "rave" drug and an amphetamine precursor hidden in rice sacks shipped from India.

The RCMP says officers with the Canada Border Services Agency at the Port of Montreal made the discovery while inspecting a Toronto-bound sea container carrying more than 500 bags of rice.

Police say about 73 kilograms of ketamine and 24 kilograms of norephedrine were concealed in some of the sacks.

RCMP officers from Toronto's airport detachment arrested three men at a business in the city on July 27 and charged them with importing a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Itolo Mallozzi, 57, of Dufferin County, Ont., remains in custody, while Kevin Gowanlock, 49, of Orillia, Ont., and Amritbal Gill, 35, of Brampton, Ont., were released on bail.

The RCMP says ketamine "emerged on the North American illicit market in the aftermath of the rave explosion" and is often mixed with ecstasy or methamphetamine, while norephedrine is often used as a precursor chemical to produce amphetamines and other drugs.

The three suspects are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 2.

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