Police in Durham, Ont. say they've seized about $40 million worth of cocaine, found hidden in boxes of hot sauce from the Caribbean.

The drugs were destined for Durham region and other municipalities in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe, authorities said Tuesday.

Police say 276 kilograms of high-quality cocaine (about 80 per cent purity) was seized in Saint John, N.B. Investigators discovered cocaine inside 551 cardboard boxes stocked with hot sauce, between the cardboard inserts. In total, there were 1,250 boxes of hot sauce on the vessel.

"Once cut, this would have turned into approximately 400 kilograms of "street level" cocaine, which is worth about $40 million using current prices," police said in a news release.

An investigation, dubbed "Project FALCON" concluded the freight container was headed for a business in Etobicoke, Ont.

Project FALCON began in Durham region when officers began to investigate the source of cocaine found in the possession of local street gang members.

Investigators allege the drugs were smuggled into the country from Guyana on a vessel making regular trips between Saint John and the Caribbean. The vessel typically carries imported goods in large shipping containers.

The investigation was led by members of the Durham Regional Police Gang Enforcement Unit, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Mahendrapaul Doodnauth, the 45-year-old owner of Caribbean International Food Distributors, was arrested and charged with a slew of drug-related charges.