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Updated: Wed, 02 Oct 2013 12:25:03 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's occasional driver faces drug charges



Sandro Lisi, a friend and occasional driver to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was charged Wednesday with possession and trafficking of marijuana, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and possession of the proceeds of crime. Dale Brazao/Toronto Star

Sandro Lisi, a friend and occasional driver to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was charged Wednesday with possession and trafficking of marijuana, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and possession of the proceeds of crime. Dale Brazao/Toronto Star

Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s friend and occasional driver, has been charged with possession and trafficking of marijuana, police confirmed this morning.

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Police have also charged Lisi, 35, with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Another man, Jamshid Bahrami, 47, was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine, three counts of trafficking marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

The men are scheduled to appear Wednesday morning at Old City Hall courthouse.

Confirmation of the charges comes the morning after police searched a dry-cleaning business in west Toronto and the Lisi family's home.

Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, told CBC on Wednesday that he has never met Lisi and supports the police investigation.

Lisi was taken into custody just after 7:15 a.m.. ET Tuesday after officers in plainclothes and unmarked cruisers arrived at the Richview Cleaners, located at Eglinton Avenue and Wincott Drive in the neighbourhood of Etobicoke.

They left carrying one plastic bin, Smyth said, but it was unclear whether any items were in it.

A short time later, police entered and searched the house where Lisi lives near Dixon Road and Kipling Avenue. It is believed to be owned by his parents.

Police were inside the house and garage around 4 a.m. A police dog accompanied an officer inside the house twice.

Officers in six cars left the residence shortly before 5 a.m. It was unclear whether any residents were home at the time.

Lisi’s lawyer Domenic Basile had no comment when contacted by CBC News on Wednesday morning, before police announced the charges.

Business owners in the shopping plaza where the dry cleaners is located told CBC on Wednesday that Bahrami, who they know as "Jay," runs and lives in the shop.

"Wow, I was talking to this guy every day," said a man who arrived at the shop with a bundle of clothes. The shop remained closed at noon.

Hours earlier at 3 a.m., police had taped off the area around the shop. Plainclothes police entered and searched the premises.

The Toronto Star previously reported that Lisi had been searching for a video that allegedly showed the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.

The scandal broke in May, when reporters from the Star and the U.S. website Gawker reported they were shown such a video.

Ford said, "I do not use crack cocaine" and called the allegations related to the video "ridiculous."

CBC News has not seen the video and cannot verify its contents or existence.

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