A Niagara Regional Police constable faces multiple drug charges

Niagara police have charged two men following an investigation into trafficking in Niagara Region and Stoney Creek that allegedly involved cocaine, Adderall, codeine, marijuana, steroids and Xanax.

Const. Mark Taks  of Stoney Creek is charged with three counts of conspiracy to traffic drugs and one count of trafficking and four possession charges.

Police allege the offences happened while the two-year constable was off duty. He has been suspended with pay.

Mohammed Awija, a 25-year-old from Ottawa, is charged with three counts of conspiracy to traffic drugs and two counts of possession for trafficking.

Taks and Awija were arrested Friday and are expected to appear for bail hearings video link at John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton on Saturday.

"When these allegations first surfaced, our detectives immediately launched a thorough and exhaustive investigation," Chief Bryan MacCulloch said in a news release. "Our officers work tirelessly to maintain the trust of the public and when that is shaken, we are all impacted.

MacCulloch also said "the vast majority of our officers are dedicated to public safety. When one of our own in any way violates the public trust, it will not be tolerated."

Last week, a Niagara police officer was charged with three counts of assault, two counts of uttering threats and one count of sexual assault. Const. Matthew Belzil, also suspended with pay, is an 11-year veteran of the force.