Detective Constable Craig Ruthowsky was a member of Hamilton’s guns and gangs unit, but the crown says he was doing more to help criminals than the police. Ruthowsky was arrested in a 2015 drug sweep called Project Pharoah. In the first day of his trial we heard that he was tipping off dealers and being paid tens of thousands of dollars every month for inside information.
In 2015 Toronto police were investigating a cocaine drop at Sherway Gardens and two days later, phone surveillance recorded one of the drug dealers contacting Craig Ruthowsky for information, which the Hamilton officer provided.
The crown says that in 2011, Ruthowsky entered a “pay for protection” scheme with the drug dealer and at one point was getting $20 000 a month to tip off the dealers and help them avoid arrest.
In one case, court heard Ruthowsky got his dealer friend to give up a grow op location in exchange for no arrests and the ability to harvest half the marijuana. The dealer showed up during the search warrant and Ruthowsky allowed him a tour, shocking other officers, court heard.
In another case, Ruthowsky took a cocaine cutting agent to a lab for testing, so that his drug dealer friend could get the substance much more cheaply. Ruthowsky is also accused of selling a cocaine press that had been in police custody back to the drug dealers and he’s accused of giving up the identity of undercover officers to the drug dealers.
In short, Crown John Pollard told the jury the information Ruthowsky provided the criminals “made them better, more effective drug traffickers.”
This trial is expected to last three weeks. Ruthowsky’s former best friend and boss James Paterson is back on the stand tomorrow.