Organized Crime in Canada: A Quarterly Summary
- Automobile Theft
- Counterfeiting (Copyright Infringement)
- Drug Trafficking and Smuggling
- Firearms Trafficking
- People Smuggling
- Securities Fraud
ORGANIZED CRIME ACTIVITIES
At the end of November, police in Toronto, as well as Peel and York regions, announced they had dismantled an expansive vehicle theft operation carried out by a well-known crime group in Vaughan.
At a news conference, York Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said Project Cyclone was a large and complex investigation that also uncovered links to drug trafficking and a kidnapping plot. As a result of the investigation, police said they arrested and laid 137 charges against 23 people, recovered 60 vehicles while also seizing drugs, cash, and two firearms.
Police officials told the media the investigation led them to a group headed by a Mississauga man named Balwinder Dhaliwal, who, along with his wife and son, were arrested
The group mostly targeted high-end vehicles, including Lamborghinis, Mazerattis, Porsches, and Lexus. The 60 vehicles recovered were estimated to be worth approximately $3.4 million. The most expensive vehicle stolen was Lamborghini Huracán, worth around $340,000, which has since been returned to its owner.
Project Cyclone began as an investigation into a single auto theft, after a car was stolen when it was left warming up in a driveway in Vaughan. By the latter months of 2015, several GTA vehicles were stolen in the same manner. In other cases, high-end vehicles were stolen from people’s driveways after the keys were taken from inside the home.
The thefts coincided with the opening of a Benefit Motors, an auto body shop in Vaughan. In March 2016, police arrested three suspects after they were allegedly seen stealing vehicles and bringing them to the body shop. Once there, the auto’s keys were copied and the cars were striped of their vehicle identification numbers and then replaced with legitimate VINs from the U.S. Other legal documents were forged to suggest they were legally imported into Canada. The cars would then be sold in Canada and internationally.
“This group supplied stolen vehicles to other criminals to commit further crimes,” Jolliffe said. If a criminal wanted a nice vehicle, they came to the Dhaliwal’s.”
Most of the pilfered vehicles stayed in the GTA, but investigators say some of those they recovered were being transported to Calgary and Quebec and even internationally to Guyana and Dominican Republic.
“There are tentacles all over the country and outside the country in order to facilitate the profit making,” said Supt. Bob Strain.
The group was also linked to cargo thefts and police said they recovered $1.4 million worth of stolen cargo, including e-cigarettes, alcohol, car parts, and a truckload of Nutella. Police also seized more than $200,000 in cash, including $20,000 they say was buried in the backyard of the Dhaliwal’s home in Mississauga.
Police also alleged that telephone surveillance conducted as part of Project Cyclone help them thwart an apparent plot to kidnap a wealthy developer living in Vaughn. The perpetrators allegedly planned to impersonate police officers who would then pull over and abduct the man (who police have not named to protect his own safety).
“This plot included plans to impersonate police, [taser] the victim to incapacitate him and to eventually demand a ransom to secure the safe release of the victim. This plot was foiled by police with no harm to anyone,” Det.-Sgt. Paul LaSalle of the York Regional Police was quoted as saying. Three men were arrested and now face conspiracy charges. The CBC reported that two of the men had lengthy criminal records.
LaSalle said the suspects were also planning to stage a traffic collision to collect on fraudulent injury claims.
“I’ve never seen an investigation that did spiral into so many directions,” he said.
Det.-Sgt. LaSalle confirmed that the Dhaliwal family was already known to police. In June 2014, they charged Balwinder Dhaliwal with running a stolen car ring. The three family members were also among a group of people charged for similar crimes in Etobicoke in 2012. In 2010, an elaborate marijuana grow-op was found at an auto body shop linked to Balwinder near Pearson International Airport. In the early 2000’s, Dhaliwal was convicted and sentenced to 10 years for auto theft. The Dhaliwal was even once profiled on a History Channel true crime series’ episode called “The King of Car Thieves.”
“If there was a profit to be made by this group, this group would jump on the opportunity,” LaSalle said.
Sources: CBC News, June 14, 2012, Toronto family facing charges after auto-shop raid // CityNews, November 25 2016, Police bust car theft ring connected to Vaughan organized crime // Toronto Star, November 25, 2016, Police bust Vaughan-based auto (and Nutella) theft ring, recover $5 million in stolen goods // CBC News, November 25, 2016, York police reveal operation that took down alleged auto-theft ring, kidnap plot
Counterfeiting (Copyright Infringement)
A Toronto police investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods led to the seizure of more than 16 trucks filled with fake consumer products that police say would be worth $2.5 million if sold.
Among the products seized were knock-offs of Magic Bullet blenders, Kylie Jenner brand makeup, Ray Ban sunglasses, Thomas the Tank toy engines, and a variety of other toys. Police also seized $5,500 in proceeds of crime.
The seizure led to the arrest of 46-year-old Hock Chan, the owner of Lucky’s Import and Wholesale located on The Queensway in Toronto. He faces charges including possession of property obtained by crime and fraud over $5,000.
He was arrested and charged after police received complaints from shoppers who purchased products from his business. The complaints included skin irritation from makeup products and overheating of electronic products, such as the Magic Bullets and wireless earphones.
Two other individuals were arrested as part of the investigation and face immigration-related charges.
In addition to Chan’s business, three other search warrants were executed in the city as part of the investigation, including two other retail businesses suspected of selling the fake products. (One of the locations served with a search warrant was the Novotel hotel at Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue West that was hosting an anti-counterfeiting conference at the time.)
Supt. Bryce Evans of the Toronto Police told the media that the most common consumer products counterfeited and sold in Canada are purses, watches, other jewelry, smartphones, shoes, DVDs, medication, computers, designer goods and foods.
Evans also emphasized, “Counterfeit goods is a source of funds for terrorist groups and organised crime.” The French public interest organization Unifab identified that counterfeit goods were one source of income for the terrorists involved in the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris.
According to a January 2017 Forbes article, the counterfeiting of consumer products “has seemingly grown to epidemic proportions over the past couple of years. It has gotten to the point where big brands like Apple, after finding that 90% of “their” chargers that were being sold on Amazon were fakes… Amazon’s counterfeit problem grew exponentially when the marketplace began to aggressively target Chinese sellers in 2015” and “to allow Chinese manufacturers and merchants to sell directly to buyers in the USA, Canada, and Europe…”
China is considered the global epicentre of product counterfeiting, while Toronto is a major source of counterfeit digital products.
Sources: CBC News, December 9, 2016, Toronto police seize fake Magic Bullets, Kylie Jenner makeup among $2.5 million worth of counterfeit goods // CP24.com, December 9, 2016, Three charged, $2.5M worth of goods seized in counterfeiting investigation // Forbes.com, January 12, 2017, How Chinese Counterfeiters Exploit Amazon’s HR Strategy To Sell You Fake Junk
Drug Smuggling and Trafficking
On October 13, Toronto police revealed that they had seized quantities of multiple drugs during one investigation, including the single largest seizure of powdered cocaine in the city.
In total, Toronto police seized 73 kilograms of cocaine, 12 kilograms of crystal meth and eight kilograms of ecstacy or MDMA. The drugs were seized during the course of a six-week investigation, dubbed Project Polar, which resulted in multiple charges against a 32-year-old Toronto man.
Acting Insp. Steve Watts of the force’s drug squad estimated the street value of all the drugs to be around $9 million ($7.3 million worth of cocaine, $1.2 million worth of crystal meth, and $500,000 worth of ecstacy).
After the accused was pulled over while driving, a search of the man’s car turned up some of the drugs, which were hidden if a custom-built hidden compartment behind a seat. This led to the execution of a search warrant at the man’s residence where another 56 kilos of cocaine was found.
Watts said it is “rare” for so much product to be found with one person.
According to CBC News, “Watts would not say what led police to launch their investigation, or the specific investigative techniques they used before executing their search warrant. He did say that the accused does not have a criminal record.”
Watts also did not disclose whether the accused is part of a larger criminal organization, but did admit that typically, large drug seizures like this are connected to a wider criminal conspiracy.
“In the drug business, in the drug culture, if you are entrusted with this amount of product or this amount of controlled substances, then you are at a very high level due to the financial and the nature of the substance,” Watts said.
In December, HMCS Kingston returned to Halifax after a two-month deployment. The Royal Canadian Navy warship was participating in Operation Caribbe, Canada’s contribution to a U.S.-led multinational effort to prevent drug smuggling in the Caribbean Sea, eastern Pacific Ocean and the coast of Central America.
A news release issued by the Department of National Defence said since 2006 the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force have supported the seizure or disruption of more than 66 metric tonnes of cocaine and just under four metric tonnes of marijuana. In the past year alone, Canada directly contributed to the seizure or disruption of 5,750 kilograms of cocaine and 1,520 kg of marijuana.
“Every disruption to the flow of illicit drugs off the coasts of Central and South America means a loss to the organized crime organizations that intend to distribute these drugs in North America,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a statement. “More importantly, it means there are fewer drugs making it to Canadian streets.”
Canada has been involved in Project Martillo for 10 years, according to the DND. During this time, the Royal Canadian Navy deployed ships and submarines 63 times and sailed for a total of 1,881 days in direct support of the mission. The Royal Canadian Air Force deployed CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft 39 times and flew a total of 2,138 hours, providing surveillance, detection, and disruption capabilities. There is also one CP-140 Aurora aircraft — from 14 Wing Greenwood 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron — currently supporting Operation Caribbe, which began patrolling the Caribbean Sea on November 24, 2016.
Sources: Government of Canada, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, December 13, 2016, Operation CARIBBE // Chronicle-Herald, December 9, 2016, HMCS Kingston returns to Halifax in time for Christmas
In October, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the seizure of almost 100 kilograms of suspected cocaine at the Lansdowne port of entry in Eastern Ontario.
On October 5, 2016, a resident of Laval, Quebec, was referred for a secondary examination of his commercial vehicle. With the help of detector dog Shaggy, CBSA officers located four suspicious items hidden in the trailer. A total of 98.8 kilograms of suspected cocaine was then found upon inspection of the packages.
The man and suspected cocaine were turned over to the RCMP.
“This is one of the largest drug seizures ever at the Lansdowne port of entry. It’s a great example of the CBSA working with law enforcement partners to detect and interdict illegal drugs,” Lance Markell, a CBSA official said in a press release.
A few weeks later, CBSA officers made another major seizure of cocaine from a commercial vehicle at the Pacific Highway Commercial port of entry in B.C. Hidden in a shipment of rice, the officers discovered numerous bricks of a white powdered substance that later proved to be cocaine. In total, there was over 107.5 kilos of the drug.
On December 10, CBSA officers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport found more than 7.5 kilos of cocaine while monitoring the offload of luggage on a flight from the Dominican Republic. The unclaimed suitcase was examined by officers and found to contain a backpack with six brick-shaped bundles. A CBSA press release said the agency had made 172 cocaine seizures in the Greater Toronto Area from January 1 to December 15, 2016.
Source: Canada Border Services Agency Press Release, October 11, 2016, Huge cocaine seizure at the Lansdowne (Thousand Islands) Port of Entry // Vancouver Sun, November 7, 2016, REAL SCOOP: CBSA seizes over 100 kg of cocaine at border // Vancouver Sun, November 7, 2016, Nearly 110 kilograms of suspected cocaine seized at Pacific Highway crossing // Government of Canada News Release, December 20, 2016, CBSA officers once again find suspected cocaine at the Toronto Pearson International Airport
Police in Vancouver seized 56 kilos of cocaine after stopping two men who were acting suspiciously on December 5. The two men – one in his 20s and one in his 30s – were driving in East Vancouver around 7:30 p.m. when they caught the attention of astute patrol officers.
“Officers observed behaviour they considered suspicious and subsequently located what they believed to be approximately four kilograms of cocaine. The vehicle was towed and police obtained a warrant to continue searching for additional evidence,” a Vancouver Police news release said.
Another 52 kilograms of the drug were the next day during a search of the vehicle.
Police estimate the retail value of the coke to be around $4.5 million.
“Criminal charges related to the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking are expected to be filed,” according to the news release.
A Quebec woman pleaded guilty in an Australian courtroom to smuggling 95 kilos of cocaine on a cruise ship from Britain to Australia. The 28-year-old was arrested with two other Canadian suspects — a man and a woman — after the ocean liner Sea Princess docked at Sydney harbour.
Australian Federal Police said this was the single largest seizure they had made from a passenger entering the country.
The drugs were found in four suitcases after Australian Border Force officers boarded the ship and, with the help of detector dogs, searched a number of passenger cabins. The dogs helped police find 35 kilograms of cocaine in the suitcases in a cabin shared by the women and 60 kilos in the man’s luggage in a separate cabin.
Australian authorities credited the Canada Border Services Agency for helping identify the three as “high-risk passengers.”
The woman, who works in a jewellery store in Quebec, will be committed for sentencing at Sydney district court on February 3, 2017.
The two other accused have not yet been tried or enter a plea.
Before their arrests, the two women shared their travels on social media. Images posted on Instagram and Facebook showed them visiting New York, Bermuda, Ecuador, Tahiti, Colombia, Peru, and New Zealand.
In recent years, a number of Canadians have been arrested for smuggling cocaine and other drugs to Australia. Canada has increasingly become an international transit country for cocaine from Mexico.
Police are investigating whether the three defendants boarded the ship with the drugs at the British departure port or picked them up from one of several South American ports the ship visited on its way to Australia.
Sources: Evening Standard, December 16, 2016, Porn model tried to smuggle £18m of cocaine from Britain to Australia // Associated Press, December 16, 2016, Quebec woman pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine on luxury cruise documented with bikini travel photos
The Canadian and Chinese governments have agreed to work more closely together to combat the flow of illicit fentanyl and other opioids into Canada. A MOU was agreed to by the two countries to enhance cooperation on combatting crime generally and to strengthen coordinated law enforcement actions to disrupt the supply of fentanyl and synthetic opioids specifically.
The MOU was followed by an agreement to begin discussing how to formalize joint investigations between law enforcement agencies of the two countries. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Vice-Minister Chen Zhimin of Chinese Ministry of Public Security met in Ottawa to kick start these discussions.
According to a RCMP press release, “Fentanyl and other opioids pose a grave threat to the safety of Canadian communities. Our meeting this week was an important step forward and highlights the commitment between our two organizations to enhance operational collaboration, identify key areas of concern, and work towards a coordinated approach to combat fentanyl trafficking.”
Canadian law enforcement authorities have said China is the main source of powdered opioids – including fentanyl and the more potent carfentanil – entering Canada. As the Globe and Mail put it, the fact that the Chinese government has agreed to work with the RCMP to combat the flow of illicit fentanyl into Canada is a tacit acknowledgement “of the deadly impact of the Asian country’s sprawling chemicals industry on this nation’s overdose epidemic.” China’s burgeoning chemical industry has helped “foster a booming underground trade in fentanyl,” the newspaper reported.
Law enforcement agencies in Canada have made a number of seizures of both fentanyl and carfentanil that have originated in China. On November 3, 2016, for example, a package from China containing fentanyl was intercepted at the Vancouver International Mail Centre. In June of 2016, 1 kilo of carfentanil from China was seized by the Canada Border Services Agency in Vancouver.
Robert Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, said there is “no doubt” a significant amount of fentanyl has been flowing into Canada via China. He called the increased cooperation between the two countries as “good news.”
“Up until now, very little effort has been made on the part of the Chinese authorities to stop that flow,” he said in an interview.
Despite the generally positive reaction to the bilateral agreement, the National Post cautioned, “China’s reliability as a partner in the fight against the deadly opioid is far from certain.” One of the hurdles to stop of the export of the illicit narcotics is “the sheer size and population of China” which makes it “difficult to track down producers even when investigators have suspects’ names and addresses.”
An Associated Press investigation conducted earlier this year stated that China already imposes control on fentanyl and 18 related compounds, yet “despite periodic crackdowns, people willing to skirt the law are easy to find in China’s vast, freewheeling chemicals industry.”
According to the RCMP press release, “Networks operate on the Internet via the dark web, which continues to serve as the main gateway for the sale of illicit fentanyl in Canada.”
The Globe and Mail notes that the “drug can be ordered online, and its high potency allows it to be smuggled in small packages through regular mail.”
The same Associated Press investigation earlier this year identified 12 Chinese online vendors willing to export carfentanil to several countries, including Canada, for as little as $2,750 a kilogram.
Illicit fentanyl comes to Canada in either powdered or liquid form and is often pressed into tablets and then sold as OxyContin, other prescription painkillers, or even heroin. Marketing the drug as such reaps tremendous profits for the traffickers because fentanyl can be purchased in bulk much more cheaply than these other narcotics.
Sources: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Press Release, November 24, 2016, RCMP and Chinese Ministry of Public Security commit to combat the flow of fentanyl into Canada // Globe and Mail, November 24, 2016, China acknowledges role in Canada’s opioid crisis // Canadian Press, November 24 2016, RCMP to work with China to fight flow of fentanyl to Canada // National Post, November 25, 2016, RCMP looks overseas to stop flow of drugs. But how reliable is China as a partner in the fight against fentanyl
In October, law enforcement agencies in Alberta seized 3,714 fentanyl pills in two separate cases.
After executing search warrants on the 26th of October, the Alberta Law Enforcement Team (ALERT) in Calgary, along with the Calgary Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, and RCMP members, found 943 fentanyl pills in an apartment in Calgary. In addition to the pills, Investigators seized nine hydromorphone pills and $6,000 in cash proceeds of crime. A warrant was obtained to search the suspect’s apartment after the 22-year-old was arrested on October 24 when police found with 56 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop.
In a separate investigation, 2,771 pills were seized from a Calgary home following the execution of a search warrant on October 28. The fentanyl was located in a vehicle parked at a residence, along with $11,620 cash proceeds of crime and 47 unknown pills. Investigators identified the home as a potential fentanyl stash site based on information obtained from an ALERT Lethbridge investigation, which took place the previous week. The home itself was also allegedly being used as a cocaine processing lab and 23 grams of cocaine and 135 grams of a suspected buffing agent were seized. Two Lethbridge men were arrested in connection with the seizure.
On December 23, police in Quebec uncovered a clandestine fentanyl lab. Sûreté du Québec officials said it was the first time the powerful opioid has been found in a drug lab in Quebec.
Located in the municipality of Potton, in the Eastern Townships of the province, the lap was purportedly involved in the production of fentanyl-laced pills.
After running tests, police confirmed a one-kilogram mixture found in the lab contained fentanyl and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Police also found two presses used to turn the powdered mixture in capsules.
The raid was part of an investigation into organized crime and the production of synthetic drugs, which was launched by the SQ and local authorities in November.
Four other searches were conducted in the Longueuil, Boucherville and St-Roch-de-Richelieu sectors.
The searches resulted in the seizure of more than 400 kilos of raw substances used in drug production, four grams of cannabis, a vial of liquid resembling GHB (the so-called “date-rape drug”), a stun gun, $500 in Canadian cash, and two vehicles.
The Sûreté du Québec said no arrests were made in connection to the raid at the time of the seizure and the investigation is ongoing.
“These drugs were produced by amateurs who were improvising, in unsanitary conditions, with chemicals that are explosive and harmful to health,” the SQ said in a statement.
In the spring of 2016, Quebec City police seized more than 76,000 pills and a kilogram of fentanyl powder in more than a dozen busts. The street value of the drugs was estimated to be more than $1.5 million.
Three men from Calgary were arrested and charged in Utah after highway patrol officers there discovered 107 kilos of methamphetamine. The men were taken into custody in October near Provo, south of Salt Lake City.
According to state authorities, a trooper pulled the vehicle over on Interstate 15 on October 10 after observing several traffic violations.
The Utah Daily Herald reported the men appeared nervous, “forcing smiles and breathing heavily and irregularly.”
A detector dog was rushed to the scene and sniffed out the cache of drugs — some wrapped in plastic bundles and freezer-size Ziploc bags and stuffed inside boxes and suitcases. They also found steroids and $66,000 in cash.
The meth is estimated to have a wholesale U.S. value of (US) $1.5 million and a street value between $7 and $15 million.
News reports from Utah said the men were charged in U.S. District court with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
On December 11, the CBSA confiscated 31 kilograms of methamphetamine at the Aldergrove port of entry in British Columbia. The drugs were found in a black suitcase in a vehicle entering Canada after it was referred for a secondary examination. The driver was immediately arrested and, along with the drugs, was turned over to the Langley RCMP.
Firearms Smuggling and Trafficking
At the end of October, eight guns, some equipped with silencers, were seized in a firearms trafficking investigation by ALERT. Five Edmonton men have been arrested.
Over the previous two months, ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime and gang team had conducted an investigation into a suspected criminal network that was trafficking firearms.
Eight firearms were seized on September 23 following four search warrants in west Edmonton. ALERT seized three rifles, five handguns, body armour, silencers, and a crate of various rounds of ammunition.
ALERT alleges that the firearms were being lawfully acquired and then supplied to Edmonton-area criminal networks. In some cases, the firearms were being altered and defaced before hitting the black market. Many of the firearms had their serial numbers removed and a Norinco CQ 5.56 rifle had been converted to a fully automatic weapon. A workshop in one of the homes was being used to convert firearms and manufacture silencers, ALERT alleges.
In all, 107 charges were laid against five individuals. One of the men already has a lifetime firearms ban stemming from a previous conviction for importing prohibited firearms. He was arrested in January 2009 while attempting to enter Canada with 10 semi-automatic handguns.
Officers with Edmonton Police Service, RCMP, and National Weapons Enforcement Support team were involved in the investigation.
Four people were charged in October following a seven-month investigation into a human smuggling operation in the Cornwall-Massena area of Eastern Ontario. The arrests were part of Operation Oinertia, a joint investigation into the smuggling of people across the border between Cornwall, St. Regis, Que., and Massena in New York State.
“In this investigation we found people were being moved in both directions,” Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Chris Kealey said. “In some cases they were in vehicles, in other cases they were boated across.”
The charges stem from five alleged instances of human smuggling. Two instances took place in June, the first involving two adults and the second, a family of one adult and two children. Two smuggling incidents occurred in August, both involving two women, and one incident occurred in September involving four men.
Kealey would not name the countries of origin, except to say, “they were from all over.”
Five people were arrested and four people were charged on October 20, 2016 after search warrants were executed at residences in Quebec and Ontario. Among the Criminal Code charges were conspiracy while two men were each charged with aiding or abetting the illegal entry to Canada of one or more persons under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The task force includes the CBSA, the RCMP, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, and the Massena Border Enforcement Security Task Force
Sources: Government of Canada News Release, December 22, 2016, Multi-agency investigation dismantles a human smuggling operation in Cornwall-Massena // Ottawa Citizen, December 22, 2016, Four charged in alleged human smuggling ring near Cornwall
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) and the RCMP announced an enforcement partnership targeting serious violations of securities laws.
The Joint Serious Offences Team (JOST) in Alberta investigates and prosecutes quasi-criminal cases under the provincial Securities Act and certain securities-related criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. In particular, the unit targets repeat offenders, serious frauds, and breaches of ASC or court orders and bans.
JSOT operates as a separate unit within the ASC Enforcement Division. ASC lawyers will continue to prosecute quasi-criminal cases while the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, Specialized Prosecution Branch will prosecute criminal charges resulting from JSOT investigations.
“JSOT combines the ASC’s expertise in capital markets and securities investigations with the RCMP’s policing experience and access to information to investigate and prosecute serious violations of the law,” said Stan Magidson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer for the ASC. “This collaboration helps safeguard Albertans from the most serious securities offences while deterring future offenders by prosecuting lawbreakers to the fullest extent.”
“It will allow us to hopefully achieve penalties, like jail time up to 14 years, which previously we were not seeing,” Magidson added.
“Collaboration between the RCMP and ASC provides more thorough access to information and intelligence collected provincially and through national and international networks. It creates opportunities to act on live intelligence, avoid duplication of investigations, and ensure cases are prosecuted in the most appropriate forum,” said Inspector Allan Lai, Acting Officer-in-Charge of RCMP “K” Division Federal Policing South (Calgary).
The nine-member unit is comprised of investigators, forensic accountants, legal professionals, and RCMP officers. These dedicated resources have a broad array of investigative tools. A specialized prosecutor will pursue any criminal charges resulting from investigations.
“Offenders keep getting more sophisticated,” Magidson was quoted as saying. “We are seeing more links between securities offences and organized crime. The money, once stolen, is often transferred offshore, making it extremely difficult to trace and essentially impossible to recover.”
Magidson said that traditionally the securities commission and RCMP conducted parallel investigations and prosecutions into cases involving securities fraud. One case he cited was the largest Ponzi schemes in Canadian history. Gary Sorenson and Milowe Brost were given 12 years in prison for an elaborate, multimillion-dollar fraud in which investors were promised unrealistic returns. The two men were sentenced in Calgary last year for their crimes involving more than 2,400 investors from around the world with losses up to $200 million.
“The ASC certainly brought those individuals to task for their crimes and were successful in issuing sentences and penalties. At the same time, the RCMP also pursued them, and they’re now serving up to 12 years in jail,” said Magidson.
“In a way, that was an example where we both succeeded, but had we actually worked together, it could have been more efficient.”
Sources: RCMP News Release, December 7, 2016, Alberta Securities Commission and RCMP Unite to Fight Financial Crime // Canadian Press, December 7, 2016, Alberta Securities Commission and RCMP join forces to fight financial crime // CBC News, December 7, 2016, ‘Most serious’ financial crime targeted as RCMP and Alberta Securities Commission team up
ORGANIZED CRIME GENRES
Italian Organized Crime
Raynald Desjardins, once considered a top associate of Montreal mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in the conspiracy to murder Salvatore Montagna.
During a hearing at a Montreal courthouse in December, Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent approved a joint recommendation made by the prosecution and Desjardins’ defence counsel. The 63-year-old Desjardins will only have to serve six-and-a-half years, however, when time already served is factored into the sentence. (He spent almost five years detained while awaiting for his case to be heard and is awarded a day and a half for every day he spent in remand).
Montagna was murdered on November 24, 2011. Desjardins, and a group of accomplices, were arrested in December of 2011.
In an agreed statement of facts, Desjardins admitted that there was a conspiracy to kill Montagna and that he orchestrated the assassination. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
When he was killed, Montagna was the boss of the Bonanno mafia family in New York City. According to Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette, Montagna and Desjardins “had formed an ill-fated consortium to wrest power from the Rizzuto organization. The alliance fell apart during the spring of 2011, when Montagna and Desjardins began arguing over control of such areas as loansharking and bookmaking in the city.”
Montagna was shot inside the home of Jack Simpson, one of the accomplices, in Charlemagne, a municipality east of Montreal. Desjardins admitted it was he who set up a meeting at Simpson’s home that November day to lure Montagna. The pretext of the meeting was for the two men to try and settle their differences. Once he arrived at the home, Montagna was ambushed and shot three times by Simpson, according to police. Desjardins was not around at the time of the murder.
Desjardins was driven to kill Montagna because be suspected Montagna had attempted to kill him on September 2011 during a shootout in Laval. Desjardin escaped unharmed from this assault.
Earlier this year, the septuagenarian Simpson and five other men pleaded guilty to playing a role in the murder. They are expected to be sentenced in February of 2017. The five other men are Vittorio Mirarchi (who the Journal de Montréal called Desjardins’ “right-hand man”), Calogero Milioto, Pietro Magistrale, Steven Fracas, and Steven D’Addario.
The court heard that Desjardins the other men used BlackBerry messages to plan the murder. They believed the messages were encrypted, but the RCMP was able to read the 2,600 text messages by accessing BlackBerry’s global decryption key.
The messages were intercepted during an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking, but it became clear to police that Desjardins and the others were planning to kill Montagna in light of the earlier attempt on Desjardins’ life.
Sources: Montreal Gazette, December 19, 2016, Montreal Mafioso Raynald Desjardins receives 14-year sentence for conspiring in murder of rival // Le Journal de Montréal, December 20, 2016, Mafia : peine reportée pour les 6 complices de Desjardins
Mexican Drug Cartels
Now that a visa requirement for Mexican nationals has been lifted by the Canadian government, drug cartels from that country will attempt to expand their presence in Canada, according to a Canada Border Services Agency report obtained by Postmedia News.
As of December 1, 2016, Mexicans are no longer required to obtain a visa to come to Canada, a stipulation brought in by the previous Conservative government.
Of particular concern to the CBSA is an increase in the smuggling of cocaine into Canada.
“The visa lift will make travel to Canada easier in order to establish or strengthen existing cartel smuggling chains,” Postmedia News quotes the CBSA report as saying.
The report provides some analysis as to how the Mexican drug cartels conduct their drug smuggling operations, noting that individual shipments tend to be large.
“While Mexican drug cartels do employ drug mules, they prefer shipments with high profitability and high likelihood of successful delivery,” the report says. “As a result, they are expected to continue to focus their large scale smuggling efforts on commercial cargo in the marine, air and land modes given the higher likelihood of successful delivery and much higher profit margins.”
The report also expects the criminal groups to attempt to coopt workers are airports and marine ports to facilitate the summing of drugs into Canada.
“In the next three years, Mexican drug cartels are expected to expand their presence in Canada by sending operatives and recruiting local airport or marine port workers with ties to Mexico.”
The possibility of the cartels smuggling fentanyl into Canada is also expressed in CBSA report, according to Postmedia News.
“While China is the main source of fentanyl to Canada, increased regulations may result in Mexican drug cartels stepping in to fill any potential fentanyl shortage in Canada,” it says. “Mexican drug cartels play a significant role in current international fentanyl trafficking, with Mexico serving as a transshipment point for fentanyl precursors.”
CBSA media officer Line Guibert-Wolff said in a statement e-mailed to Postmedia, “Canada is working closely with Mexican partners to put in place measures to protect Canada against the risks associated with irregular migration.”
RCMP Superintendent Cal Chrustie, an expert on Mexican drug cartels, said Canadian crime groups purchase cocaine and other drugs from Mexican cartels.
“We know that transnational organized crime networks in Canada have criminal business relationships with Mexican cartels,” he said. “The Canadian organized crime networks also work with the Mexican cartels in laundering/repatriating money from drug deals between the groups. It is usually about illegal profits with the cartels.”
Mike Vigil, a former U.S. DEA agent stationed in Mexico who has written two books on his experiences, said Canada has reason to be concerned about potential for increased activity of cartel operatives in Canada who are unremitting in their efforts to expand into new markets.
“The Mexican cartels are very similar to a state army that probes for weaknesses and then exploits them,” he said. “They’ll easily be able to spread their chemicals into Canada — you have a large border that’s easily penetrated.”
Many Mexican-based drug trafficking groups already operate in 600 U.S. cities and 40 countries he said.
Vigil alleged that operatives from the Sinaloan and Jalisco cartels are currently present in Canada and are focused mainly on distributing crystal meth, heroin, and cocaine.
Vigil also said the CBSA’s concern about the cartels’ intention to corrupt port workers is well established.
“Particularly the Sinaloa Cartel are very good at recruiting, like ISIS,” he is quoted as saying.
In 2015, Hector Armondo Chavez, a man linked by U.S. officials to Mexican drug cartels, was extradited from Alberta to Colorado. “At that time, another Mexican national and drug smuggling suspect residing in Lethbridge, Javier Batista Cervantes, was fighting extradition,” according to a Calgary Herald article.
In 2014, Kim Bolan, of the Vancouver Sun, found there were “increasing links between B.C. drug gangs and the notoriously violent cartels” and that “Mexican cartels like Sinaloa and La Familia have sent representatives to the Lower Mainland to broker drug deals with local gangs.”
For years, local crime groups travelled south to the U.S. and Mexico to work with the cartels. Police now confirm that the Mexican crime groups have moved members north so they can be on the ground in B.C. and other parts of Canada. Calgary Police recently revealed that cartel members are also operating in that Alberta city.
Vancouver Police Supt. Mike Porteous said the cartels have changed their business model, currently preferring to have their own people based in Canada to arrange cocaine shipments into the country.
“The interesting trend that I think we’ve seen over the last couple of years is the cartels are bypassing the middleman,” Porteous said in an interview. “So they are bypassing Tom Gisby and Larry Amero and guys like that.”
Metro Vancouver gangsters like Gisby and Amero used to travel to Mexico to make their deals. Gisby was shot dead inside a Starbucks in Nuevo Vallarta in April 2012. Amero, a full-patch Hells Angel, was arrested in Montreal in November 2012 as an alleged leader of an international drug ring that worked with Mexican cartels to import and distribute about 75 kilograms of cocaine per week. He is awaiting trial.
The exact number of cartel agents in the Lower Mainland is hard to pinpoint — they often cross the border illegally and are deliberately low-key, said Porteous, the officer in charge of Vancouver Police investigative services.
“They are not as identifiable — they are not driving around steroided-up … They are pretty business-like. They fly under the radar,” he said. “The people that they have here are actually very influential. And they come and go of course. But the people they have here are the people who can get stuff done.”
He estimates the high-level cartel reps in the region at somewhere between 12 and 25.
“I would say bosses — a dozen, a couple of dozen — but then they have all their little tentacles,” he said. “Even if you have six or 10 or 12, then they are going to reach out to all of the other existing gangsters that they partner with and then that becomes their group.”
Sources: Vancouver Sun, December 8, 2016, Mexican cartels to expand reach in Canada with visa changes // Calgary Herald, December 11, 2016, Canadian border guards right to fear visa elimination will lure Mexican drug cartels: ex-DEA agent // Vancouver Sun, December 11, 2014, Notorious Mexican cartels have set up shop in Vancouver
Organized Street Gangs
Sixteen young men were arrested in December following a string of robberies around the Greater Toronto Area. Charges have been laid by police in relation to 37 robberies and, at the time of the arrests, police continue to investigate another dozen.
“We have approximately 50 robberies that have occurred starting in May 2016 by a group of what I call ‘pathetic parasites,’“ Toronto police Staff Inspector Mike Earl said at a press conference.
The group responsible for the robberies, according to Earl, include members from two Northwestern Toronto gangs: The Complex Crip Gangsters and the Treyy Money Gang. Most of those arrested are between the ages of 16 and 20.
The robberies targeted banks, shops and convenience stores, beginning in May at a Metro grocery store in Etobicoke and continuing into November, according to CBC News. The offenders mostly stole cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. Other criminal incidents included and home invasions and street robberies. Police said the gang members were also involved in the theft of 18 vehicles in Toronto, Guelph, Haltom, and Peel between May 16 and July 13. Earl said the thieves would steal a car in Guelph, for example, and then use it in a robbery in Toronto and vice versa.
Sometimes a week or more would pass between robberies while in some weeks as many as four would be carried at different locations out in a single day.
“It’s much like a criminal organization,” Earl said, describing the suspects as “a well-orchestrated group of thugs”
In a press release, police describe the group as using “sophisticated” techniques to avoid detection by law enforcement.
“Individual gang members would interchange their roles throughout this investigation, from stealing cars, which were then used in these robberies, to being getaway drivers, or participate as the upfront robber armed with a firearm,” the news release said. “These identifiable gangs and their members intermixed and operated in a very sophisticated manner to avoid detection by numerous law enforcement agencies.”
Earl also described those involved in the robberies as “as extremely violent and very accessible to guns.”
“The terror they [created,] especially in the retail robberies, they were not afraid to use physical force to get their way,” said Earl.
Several different weapons were used in the hold-ups, including handguns and shotguns.
Earl said those arrested could be suspects in other crimes.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that some of these people should be looked at as persons of interest for other violent crimes in these neighbourhoods,” he said.
The Complex Crip Gangsters are also known to be involved in prostitution rings and, in 2015, some of its members were arrested and charged after being linked to a national human trafficking network. A 2015 Global News story reported that the suspects allegedly “recruited girls and women between the ages of 15 to 33 from Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta and forced them into the sex trade.” Nine suspects were charged with 61 human trafficking and drug-related offences. None of those charged in the human trafficking case were arrested in the more recent robberies.
Sources: Toronto Police Service News Release, December 22, 2016, Multi-jurisdictional robbery investigations, 16 males arrested, three males outstanding // CBC News, December 22, 2016, Group of ‘pathetic parasites’ arrested after string of gang-related robberies across GTA // Inside TorontoDecember 22, 2016, Toronto police arrest 16 people in investigation of 50 GTA robberies // Toronto Star, December 22, 2016, 16 arrested after group of what police term ‘pathetic parasites’ combine for 37 robberies
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
The Hells Angels continue to bolster their presence in Atlantic Canada by establishing new motorcycle clubs or expanding existing puppet clubs with some speculating that a new chapter of the HA in Halifax may be in the offing.
RCMP and city police members conducted surveillance of what they say was a gathering celebrating the establishment of the new HA “hangaround” club on Saturday December 3 in Charlottetown.
Police say about 100 people wearing the “colours” of various motorcycle clubs came and went over a six-hour period. This included full-patch members of the Hells Angels’ Nomads chapter in New Brunswick as well as members of current HA affiliate clubs, the Darksiders of Nova Scotia and the Villains of PEI.
RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook, the outlaw motorcycle gang coordinator for PEI, said the new club has eight members with “hangaround” status with the Hells Angels, which is the first stage in becoming a full-fledged chapter of the HA.
“We are expecting that after they have done their prospect stage then they will form a [Hells Angels] Charlottetown club and they will have a bottom rocker (vest patch) that reads Prince Edward Island on it,” he said.
“That group is made up of former members of clubs in P.E.I. … but they’re affiliated hangaround status with the Woodbridge, Ontario chapter of the Hells Angels,” said Cpl. Cook.
Jackets worn by members of the new provisional chapter have a red and white patch on the left side of their chest that says “Woodbridge”. Red and white are the official colours of the Hells Angels.
The presence of the HA on PEI is all about establishing a territorial claim, according to Cook.
“With the Hells Angels it’s always about territory and when we talk about territory we’re also talking about the drug market and certainly P.E.I. is made up of coastline and would be very attractive in that regard.”
Also located on the island is the Bacchus Motorcycle Club, which has chapters in Alberton and Alliston. Alberton is about an hour and a half north east of Charlottetown while Alliston is about and hour southwest of Charlottetown.
Bacchus formed its first chapter in Alliston in 2012 with some members of the former Cerberus club patching over to the new group. The added another chapter more recently in Alberton.
The Bacchus club is the largest one-percenter biker gang in Atlantic Canada and is not affiliated with the Hells Angels. Some suspect the two are in competition to see who will be the dominant one-percenter motorcycle club in the region.
Although there not been any violence between the Bacchus and Hells Angels, Cook said soon after the RCMP heard other groups in the province were losing members to HA-affiliated clubs, the Bacchus expanded in P.E.I. to defend their.
The Hells Angels have not had a chapter in Atlantic Canada since their Halifax charter was revoked in 2001 when their membership dipped below seven due to police arrests and after the province shut down its clubhouse. But the HA has since re-asserted itself mostly by establishing chapters and “puppet clubs” in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and now P.E.I. A New Brunswick chapter of the Nomads is now “full patch H.A.,” said Cook.
An editorial in the Charlottetown Guardian said, “The only reason the [Hells Angels] has arrived on P.E.I. is to make money through criminal activity – likely drugs.”
Yves Lavigne, who has written three books on the Hells Angels, says the territorial push is the gang’s latest attempt to ensure they control the drug market from coast to coast.
“What I’m surprised about is that they appear to have bought off the local dealers because there has been very little violence compared to what happens when they take over drug markets in other parts of the country,” said Lavigne.
“The way I measure it is that if members of Bacchus aren’t being killed then they are working together,” he added. “There is no push-back from anyone in the Maritimes as far as I can tell right now.”
Stephen Schneider, a criminology professor at Saint Mary’s University, is not as convinced of an outright deal between the HA and the Bacchus, but there a kind of “detente” appears to have developed.
“The Bacchus knows they are simply not at the same level as the Hells Angels and they are not going to get into a protracted war with them,” said Schneider.
He believes the Hells Angel’s return to the Maritimes is about establishing territory with the main target Halifax and control of its port, which can be used to import drugs like cocaine and hashish.
Schneider notes that the expansion of the HA in Atlantic Canada is part of an overall enlargement of the motorcycle club in the country, primarily by establishing new affiliate clubs.
Sources: CBC News, December 12, 2016, Hells Angels setting up a chapter in Charlottetown say police // The Guardian, December 10, 2016, Hells Angels set up shop in a Charlottetown residential neighbourhood // The Guardian, December 15, 2016, Editorial: Hells Angels bring trouble and lots of it // CBC News, July 23, 2016, ‘Little violence’ as Hells Angels make their return to the Maritimes // The Guardian, September 24, 2016, Hells Angels affiliated group ready to do business on P.E.I.
On December 1, two men were murdered in Vaudreuil-Dorion, one of whom was a member of the Rock Machine in Quebec.
Forty-five-year-old Joseph Fluet and 38-year-old Steven Lamarsh were shot dead in a field in the suburb west of Montreal.
Richard Hunt, 38, of Les Cèdres, Quebec and his girlfriend, Melanie Binette, 28 were charged with the first-degree murders of both men. They were also charged with the attempted murder of a woman who managed to escape the shooting.
While the Sûreté du Québec has not disclosed the motive behind the murders, the Journal de Montréal quoted an unnamed police sources saying it appeared to involve a dispute over a drug transaction.
Both Hunt and Binette have served prison terms for smuggling drugs into a provincial detention centre. In 2011, while on day parole for a three-year sentence for drug trafficking, Hunt stole more than $800,000 from a Garda armoured truck while it was parked in a municipality west of Montreal.
According to Paul Cherry of the Montreal Gazette, Fluet joined the Rock Machine in 2001 and before his death, he had just finished serving a two-year sentence for defrauding an elderly man out of tens of thousands of dollars. He enlisted the help of two other members of the Rock Machine to intimidate the man to hand over two vehicles worth $30,000 and another $30,000 in cash. “When the Sûreté du Québec investigated Fluet and the two other men for criminal harassment, they executed a search warrant at a warehouse on Balmoral St., in the St-Laurent borough, and found three leather jackets with Rock Machine patches sewn onto them,” Cherry wrote.
Fluet was also accused of recruiting members for the Rock Machine once he entered a federal penitentiary in 2014.
He was turned down for parole in May 2015 and during his next hearing, on October 19, 2015, he told the Parole Board of Canada he knew his life was in danger if he continued living in Quebec and remained a member of the Rock Machine. “Fluet was released in late 2015 but whether he ever acted on his proposal to make a new life for himself outside of Quebec is not known,” according to Cherry.
Sources: CBC News, December 2, 2016, Rock Machine biker gang member shot dead in Vaudreuil-Dorion // CBC News, December 2, 2016, Man, woman charged with 1st-degree murder in Vaudreuil-Dorion shooting deaths // Journal de Montréal, December 6, 2017, Accusés des meurtres prémédités de deux Rock Machine // Montreal Gazette, January 6, 2017, Rock Machine member murdered in Vaudreuil claimed he wanted to start new life
Parole documents show that a Kelowna man charged in connection with a major fentanyl investigation in B.C. was a former “middleman” for the Hells Angels.
Leslie John McCulloch was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in the summer of 2016 following a raid in which RCMP seized two industrial pill presses and hundreds of pills made out of fentanyl. The RCMP also seized score sheets, gold bars, four bundles of cash totaling $35,600 and miscellaneous Hells Angels ‘81 Support’ clothing.
Police believe McCulloch was importing fentanyl from China and then producing pills which were sold as Percocet and OxyContin.
His girlfriend also faces charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
According to parole documents obtained by the CBC, the 38-year-old McCulloch was on parole from a four-and-a-half year sentence for possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine at the time of the alleged offences.
A parole review in July 2014 described him as “a ‘middleman’ who transported drugs for the Hells Angels for about one year.” Despite these allegations, McCulloch was granted full parole.
While the terms of his parole conditions prohibited him from having any contact with members of the HA, after his release police claimed to he met with a full-patch member of the Hells Angels from Calgary. As a result, McCulloch’s parole was suspended.
McCulloch was released again, but his parole was revoked in May of 2016 after the police raids in the summer.
Bob Green, who police say was a senior full-patch member of the Hells Angels in B.C., was found murdered in Langley on the morning of October 16.
Green died from “injuries consistent with foul play,” Cpl. Meghan Foster of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said.
“Mr. Green was a well-established member of an organized crime group, and it is believed that his homicide was not random. Currently, investigators are encouraging witnesses that fled the scene to step forward,” Foster said.
At the time of the murder, Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun wrote that Green was shot at a party, “possibly after some kind of argument and that a suspect has contacted police. The suspect may have connections to the 856 gang – named after a phone prefix in Langley.”
Two days later, police announced that 27-year-old Jason Francis Wallace was charged with second-degree murder in Green’s death. Police sources confirmed that Wallace is a member of the 856 gang.
According to the Voice newspaper, “What is baffling is that the 856 group and the Hells Angels were cooperating with one another.” The Voice reported earlier that the death “could be internal fighting among 856 gang members, or it could have been a fight between Green and the 856 group.”
The fifty-six-year-old Green had been a member of the HA for more than 20 years, “first as part of the Hells Angels East End chapter, then later moving to the elite Nomads chapter,” Bolan reported. “More recently, he was part of the Mission City chapter.”
Bolan quotes an unnamed retired police officer who said Green “has been in the thick of the underworld and crime and gangsterism his whole life … He is one of the most influential high-profile B.C. Hells Angels. He had his hand in a bunch of different territories, regions in the province. He had influence on the island, up north and into the Prairies.”
Green had made many enemies over the decades he spent in the criminal underworld.
“He was a ruthless guy in the underworld and he would exact territorial presence with violence and he would broker underworld deals over the years and always maintain that profile,” the former police officer said.
Another unnamed police officer said the murder “will cause quite a stir. It’s not that often that a Hells Angel in this province gets murdered.”
Bolan writes, “Green got to know the Hells Angels who owned the Drake when he worked there. He became a full-patch Hells Angel in the mid-1990s, after being a member of a feeder club called the East Enders … Several years later, Green split off with other East End chapter members to form the Nomads chapter as the B.C. Hells Angels extended their reach in the province.”
Eight days later, a prospect with the Hells Angels’ White Rock Chapter was shot. Burnaby RCMP say that 44-year-old Mohammad Rafiq was shot in his car in front of his house around 1 a.m. Rafiq was pulled from his vehicle by paramedics and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police sources say the shooting of two men involved in the Hells Angels so close together is very rare in B.C.
Another man who police say is a Hells Angels associate died on Nov. 22, 2016 from injuries sustained in a targeted shooting in August.
Adis (Ady) Golic was well known to police and had numerous run-ins with the law. He was convicted twice for stock fraud and for intimidating a witness in one of the cases against him. In 2014, the B.C. Securities Commission imposed a seven-year ban on Golic buying or trading in securities or acting for any registered company as director, officer, promoter, or consultant.
Golic is also known as the lead singer of the rock band Skard and one of their music videos features the president of the East End chapter of the Hells Angels, John Bryce. In the video, both are seen cruising down a rural road on their motorcycles with a police car following them.
Golic was 41 years old when he was gunned down on August 22 around 8:30 p.m. in Burnaby. At the time, the RCMP said the shooter hopped into a dark-coloured getaway vehicle with a roof rack following the attack. Police believe this was a targeted shooting although the motive is unknown.
“There was at least one other person, the driver, in the vehicle, which fled the area at a high rate of speed,” Sgt. Derek Thibodeau said in an August news release.
Sources: Vancouver Sun, October 18, 2016, Sources say high-level B.C. Hells Angel Bob Green shot to death at Langley party // The Indo-Canadian Voice, October 29, 2016, Man affiliated with organized crime group shot in Burnaby. Body parts found in Langley. Retaliation for murder of Hells Angel Robert (Bob) Green? // Vancouver Sun, October 26, 2016, Hells Angels prospect hurt in targeted shooting in Burnaby // Vancouver Sun, December 2, 2016, Shooting of HA associate, fraudster now a murder
In December, Kim Bolan, of the Vancouver Sun, reported on how a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last summer imposing specific time frames for criminal cases to be completed may affect the cases of suspected organized crime figures in B.C.
Bolan notes that the Supreme Court of Canada “ruled that in all but exceptional circumstances, Provincial Court cases should go to trial within 18 months, while cases at the superior court level should be completed within 30 months.”
Since the decision imposing specific time limits for cases getting to trial, “many accused in B.C. have filed applications to have their charges tossed, she writes. These include “the prosecution of Hells Angels David Giles and Bryan Oldham and their associates Shawn Womacks and James Howard, who were convicted in a major drug conspiracy case on Sept. 30. Lawyers for the four men argued before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Carol Ross in November that federal prosecutors violated their clients’ rights by delaying disclosure in the case, extending the length of the proceedings to 49 months.”
She also notes that in October of this year, lawyers for Jamie Bacon said they will file a court application to have his charges dismissed because of unconstitutional delays in his case. Bacon is a notorious gang leader and drug trafficking who was is accused of ordering the murder of rivals that eventually resulted in the mass shooting and deaths of six people in Surrey. His trial for the murders is set for March 2018, nine years after he was arrested and charged in the gangland killings.
Bolan also cites an exiting case in Quebec where “high-ranking Hells Angel Salvatore Cazzetta had gangsterism and other charges thrown out in September because of a series of delays that exceeded the Jordan time frame.”