|The cocaine was divided into roughly one-kilogram blocks. Some of it was packaged in gift bags covered with images of balloons and birthday cake.|
Numerous charges were laid against the five men and four women, including possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Sunday, July 23, 2017
|B.C. woman Xiu Mei Cui has been fined $75,000 for illegally importing jewelry and carved items made from endangered animals into Canada. She pleaded guilty to two charges under the law regulating the trade of plants and animals. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), regulates trade. International trade in seriously threatened species is prohibited.|
Agents found she had undeclared jewelry, carvings and ornaments in her luggage made from African and Asian elephants, lion, white rhinoceros and hawksbill turtle. Interpol says animal smuggling is the fourth most lucrative type of crime, behind only illegal drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting.
|A 19th century rhinoceros horn was estimated to sell for $20,000 at a recent auction. But a “grand battle” erupted between four Asian bidders and when the smoke cleared, it had sold for $228,000. Normally, high-priced antiques are cherished as objects. But rhino horns can be worth a fortune because they’re used in traditional Chinese medicine and some people believe they’re an aphrodisiac.|
In late 2015 Linxun Liao, 35, was sent to a U.S. prison for two years after pleading guilty to smuggling objects made from rhinoceros horn. He had purchased and smuggled 16 “libation cups” that had been carved from rhinoceros horns and that had a combined market value of more than $1 million.
|The rarest of the black rhino subspecies, the West African black rhinoceros, was declared extinct in 2011. The species was once widespread in central Africa. Relentless poaching caused a steep decline in the population. The rhino was listed as "critically endangered" in 2008, but a survey of the animal's last remaining habitat in northern Cameroon failed to find any sign of the rhino. No West African black rhinos are held in captivity.|
There are currently an estimated 4,000 Black Rhinos remaining in the wild, down from as many as 70,000 in the 1960s.
|Winnipeg Police arrested 33-year-old Dallas Tyler Friesen on Friday with the help of its K9 and tactical units. A member of the public spotted him and contacted police. |
Friesen faces over a dozen charges including firearm offences and counts of possession of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine as well as property obtained by crime. He has been remanded in custody and likely won't be seeing sunshine for a while.
|Dallas Tyler Friesen, 33, has an "extensive history" with police and officers believed he'd be in possession of drugs when they saw him in a taxi and followed it to a home before trying to stop him. Friesen tried to run into a nearby residence. An officer chased him, caught up with him and tried to arrest him as Friesen pulled away.|
The officer was splashed with hot coffee and pushed down a set of stairs.
|As they fought, a loaded firearm and set of handcuffs fell out of a bag that had been around Friesen's neck. He tried to pass the bag to a woman who ran out of the home. That's when police apprehended the woman and Friesen ran away. Inside the purse, police found around $11,500 worth of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl.|
Friesen is known to have ties to gangs. Police warned the public not to approach him. Anyone with information on Friesen that may assist investigators is asked to call 204-986-6222 or 911.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
|Gursharan Singh, 34, of Brampton was sentenced to 63 months in jail in a Buffalo courtroom on July 12. He’s been in jail since 2014 after his arrest in Canada. He was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges, and has similar drug charges pending against him in Toronto. He is one of seven convicted in the conspiracy and pleaded guilty last year. Singh conspired with others to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S. between 2007 and 2011 in transport trucks. Police said he was involved in the trafficking of approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine, with a value of over $80 million. During the investigation, 230 kilograms of cocaine was seized.|
Another Brampton truck driver involved, Harinder Dhaliwal, 47, pleaded guilty in April to similar charges and will be sentenced Aug. 16 in Buffalo. The minimum mandatory is a 10-year prison sentence, a maximum of life, and a $10-million fine.
The vast majority of cocaine coming into Canada comes via Mexico.
|Dozens of truckers from the Greater Toronto Area have been charged with smuggling drugs into Canada in recent years, a trend that appears rooted in the changing nature of the drug trade. Border agents have found bricks of cocaine stuffed in fruit and vegetable shipments or in hidden compartments. Cocaine is now being moved across the border via land instead of ports that were used in smuggling operations in the past.|
Baldev Singh, 44, walks out of Superior Court in 2014 after being found guilty
|Toronto-area trucker Baldev Singh, who had been on the lam for 2½ years, was picked up in May in a routine traffic stop. Over the objections of the prosecutor, a Superior Court judge allowed Singh to remain free on bail until his sentencing. Singh never returned to court. Singh was sentenced in absentia to 12 years in a federal penitentiary. He has started his sentence.|
Fate was cruel to Singh on the morning of March 19, 2009. His truck was randomly selected for a training exercise with a drug-sniffing dog at the Ambassador Bridge. The dog handler went about hiding a dummy stash in a crate in Singh’s trailer. She removed a bag of oranges to find 21 bricks of cocaine hidden underneath it.
Members of southern Ontario’s Indo-Canadian community, in particular from Brampton and Mississauga, are increasingly being used in the North American drug trade. An estimated 65 per cent of Ontario’s long-haul truck drivers are Indo-Canadian, making them logical participants in drug trafficking. Reports say some have received more than $20,000 per trip.
|A brother and sister from Winnipeg have been found guilty of using ATMs to launder money earned by trafficking cocaine after an 18-month sting dubbed Project Sideshow. Oliver Banayos was convicted of one count of trafficking cocaine and another of conspiracy to traffic cocaine on June 28.|
The same ruling found Banayos and his sister, Carol Banayos, guilty of several offences related to money laundering.
|More than 200 charges were laid among 14 people from Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver. Police seized cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, marijuana, firearms and ammunition, nine vehicles and $301,800 in cash.|
Project Sideshow investigators seized at least six privately owned or "white-label" ATMs.
|The Crown argued money was "cycled" through machines owned by Oliver Banayos to enter the legitimate banking system via bank accounts controlled by Carol Banayos. Carol Banayos maintained she wanted to help her brother set up a lawful ATM business as his nominee and claimed she didn't know the cash coming from Oliver Banayos was illegitimate. |
In it's ruling, the court found her "willfully blind" to the source of the large amounts of cash.
Friday, July 21, 2017
|25-year-old Canadian Alexandre Cazes, accused of masterminding the world's leading "darknet" internet marketplace has hanged himself in his jail cell. Thai police say he died in their custody July 12, just before a scheduled court hearing. Cazes created AlphaBay, an online marketplace that traded in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods. Cazes amassed a fortune of $23 million with the creation of AlphaBay in 2014. The site, which Europol estimates did $1 billion in business, went offline July 5 after Cazes's arrest in Thailand.|
|AlphaBay's users had flocked to another darknet site Hansa, which is largely based in the Netherlands. |
Cyberpolice quietly seized Hansa for a month to amass intelligence on illicit drug merchants and buyers.
One of the properties of Alexandre Cazes in Bangkok
|More than two-thirds of the quarter million listings on the two sites were for illegal drugs. Other illegal wares for sale included weapons, counterfeit and stolen identification and malware. Services even included hitmen for hire.|
Dutch police began running the Hansa site on June 20th and amassed some 10,000 IP addresses for Hansa buyers outside Holland. Online rumors about other dark net drug marketplaces possibly being compromised were already spreading. Dark net websites have thrived since the 2011 appearance of the Silk Road, which was taken down two years later.
|Calgary police are warning the public to expect an influx of upwards of 500 OMG (outlaw motorcycle gang) members in the city this weekend to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Calgary chapter. Police are expecting Hells Angels MC members from across Canada and their support clubs to be attending the mandatory event.|
It will run from Friday until Sunday. Police don't expect trouble but will be photographing and monitoring the bikers.
|Arson investigators in Calgary probed the cause of a spectacular fire that burned down the Hell's Angels clubhouse in 2012. Calgary police said little about the fire.|
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Salvatore Montagna on surveillance video in Montreal on Nov. 24, 2011. Montagna was murdered hours later.
|The end to all 'Project Clemenza' cases meant a publication ban placed on evidence presented during a bail hearing held during the spring of 2016 for some of the men arrested was lifted. Vittorio Mirarchi, 39, had considerable influence within the Montreal Mafia. Messages exchanged by Mirarchi and Raynald Desjardins showed Desjardins, 64, had great respect for the younger man. Mirarchi and Desjardins appeared to treat each other as equals.|
Raynald Desjardins and Vittorio Mirarchi
|The drug-smuggling investigation revealed Mirarchi could easily find partners to purchase large quantities of cocaine and had countless contacts to find truckers willing to bring shipments across the border. Mirarchi's organization imported or attempted to import, during an 11-month period, 1.4 tons of cocaine. One of the few cocaine shipments that were seized by police had nothing to do with Project Clemenza.|
On Sept. 27, 2011, drug courier Chistopher Kavanaugh picked up 33 kilograms of cocaine that had just crossed the Canadian border and was heading east when someone opened fire on the truck he was driving. The shooter, Jason Aaron Greenwood, was eventually arrested and when he pleaded guilty it was found he had learned the pickup was hauling a large quantity of cocaine and tried to hijack it. In 2014, Greenwood pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 72 months. That same year, Kavanaugh was sentenced to a three-years for possessing cocaine with the intent to traffic. The fact that the cocaine belonged to people tied to the Montreal Mafia was not mentioned in either case.
| The Mirarchi organization lost another shipment, coincidentally, on the same day Greenwood fired five bullets into Kavanaugh’s pickup truck. New York State troopers inspected Quebec truck driver Alain Thuot's truck and found 106 kilograms of cocaine. |
The person mentioned most often as Mirarchi’s cocaine supplier was, by far, Luis Carrillo Torres, a Mexican who was living illegally in Los Angeles in 2011. Torres appeared to have an endless supply. He was arrested in November 2011 by the FBI. Investigators found 16 vehicles at one of his several residences. They also found BlackBerrys with hundreds of messages with someone in Canada named “Buddy” who was ordering cocaine.
|A key man in Mirarchi’s organization was killed just days after the RCMP stopped intercepting messages. Giuseppe (Closure) Colapelle, 38, a man with long-established ties to the Montreal Mafia, was killed in St-Léonard on March 1, 2012. Police described Colapelle as being “very close” to Mirarchi and as an important intermediary to the others in the group. Monitoring the Blackberry messages Colapelle received was an arduous chore. The RCMP investigator said Colapelle received, on average, 1,000 messages a day.|
|After a raid on their Fairview clubhouse in 2003 effectively decimated the Nova Scotia chapter of the Hells Angels, the syndicate went dark for more than a decade in the province. “The Maritimes has traditionally belonged to Quebec” says RCMP sergeant Michael Kerr. In 2009 with “operation SharQc” all but one major Hells Angels outpost were "frozen" (When membership dips below six, the chapter is considered defunct, or frozen.) While they were frozen, the London Ontario Hells Angels led by David ‘Hammer’ Macdonald were granted permission by the Quebec Hells Angels to open the Gatekeepers MC in the Maritimes to keep business flowing. As more chapters unfreeze, the more HA influence grows.|
|Last spring, the return of the Hells Angels to the Halifax area was heralded by a group of 16 bikers named the London East Hells Angels, who were comprised of mostly local biker groups. Currently, police say their membership has dropped to 11, made up mostly of Gatekeepers and Dartmouth Darksiders. |
Police say they are going to be getting their ‘bottom rocker’ which will say Nova Scotia. This will turn them into fully patched members.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Adam Lee Hall
|Prosecutors argued that Veiovis participated in the killings because he aspired to become a member of the Hells Angels. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected defense arguments that there was not sufficient evidence to convict Veiovis.|
|One of the Quebec women busted in Australia for trying to smuggle cocaine into the country off a luxury cruise liner claims her life was threatened.
Former softcore porn starlet Isabelle Lagace, 29, sobbed to a Sydney court: “I fear for my life.” Lagace was arrested with fellow Quebecers Melina Roberge, 23, and Andre Tamine, 64, last August for smuggling 95 kilos of cocaine on the Sea Princess. The drugs had a street value of more than $30 million.|
|She told the court she was working in a Montreal restaurant and had borrowed $20,000. But when the unnamed loansharks called in the debt, she had no way to pay it back so was given the option of smuggling the cocaine into Australia. On board, Lagace says she met six men and one woman involved in the conspiracy. “I kind of knew they would threaten me and my family. I had no choice,” she said. “They came and told me I had to do this. I had to take the trip and I had to bring a bag.” |
She remains tight-lipped when it comes to naming names.