Niagara police officer convicted in cheese-smuggling case

By Daniel Uria  |  Nov. 30, 2015 at 3:36 PM
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NIAGARA, Ontario, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A former police officer in Niagara was sentenced to four months in prison in relation to a large-scale cheese-smuggling operation.

Scott Heron, 42, of Niagara Regional Police was found guilty on six charges, including customs offenses, after attempting to smuggle large quantities of cheese from the United States to Canada undeclared in 2012.

Police say Heron intended to distribute the cheese, valued at over $200,000, to local restaurants.

He was also found guilty of evading $325,729 in duties and taxes.

The investigation began with another Niagara Regional Police official, Geoff Purdie, who was convicted of attempting to smuggle steroids across the Canadian border.

He then went on to testify as part of his plea deal, exposing Heron's involvement in the cheese-smuggling ring.

In addition to Friday's sentencing to jail time, Heron has been on unpaid suspension since Sept. 27, 2012, and the presiding judge does not expect him to make a return to the police force.

"I can't imagine him returning to work anytime soon," Judge James Ramsay told the Niagara Falls Review. "He is a first-time offender, and jail will not be easy on him."

Heron's employment will be addressed further now that he has been sentenced.

"The involvement of any police officer in criminal activity violates their sworn oath of office," Police Chief Jeff McGuire said in a statement. "The reputation of the service is tarnished by this behavior, and public trust is diminished. It is my responsibility to ensure that actions such as those exhibited by Scott Heron are investigated in a professional manner."

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