Police say a prominent Ottawa restaurateur was among 15 people from the Ottawa and Gatineau area arrested in connection to an alleged international cocaine smuggling ring.

Quebec provincial police led the investigation after a major seizure in Montreal and the Outaouais region earlier this spring. Police are hoping to arrest more than 50 people in all.

They say the cocaine allegedly originated in Mexico and was shipped to Vancouver via the U.S. west coast. The coke was then transported to Quebec where it was stored for a while and then distributed in various regions of the province.

The RCMP, Quebec revenue authorities and the Ottawa and Gatineau police departments also took part in the operation.

Those arrested will face an array of charges, including drug possession, drug trafficking and gangsterism.

With files from The Canadian Press