Five people have been charged after over $24 million worth of cannabis goods were seized during a search in connection with an investigation into a drug trafficking and money laundering scheme in the Golden Horseshoe.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on Tuesday the result of their investigation, which began in 2017, into the scheme that allegedly used casinos in the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara regions.
The RCMP said with the help of the Ontario Provincial Police and FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada), they discovered that more than $3 million were allegedly laundered from the illegal sale of over 8,000 pounds of cannabis.
As a result, police executed search warrants on five residences and six large-scale marijuana growing operations, resulting in the confiscation of nearly 30,000 cannabis plants, 7,926 pounds of dried cannabis and $1.029 million in cash.
The seized cannabis goods are worth $24,282,112, police estimate. They added that one farm and three homes in the GTA were also restrained.
Police said Zu Wen Chang, Lin Li, Bo Hai Chen, En Quan Chen and Jian Hua Toa are facing a combined 29 charges, including laundering the proceeds of crime, possession of property obtained by crime and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence (selling cannabis).
"This investigation, conducted with the assistance of the OPP and FINTRAC, serves as a great example of how a coordinated enforcement effort can contribute to safer communities by disrupting the illegal drug trade and confiscating money laundering proceeds," RCMP Supt. Jeff Cooper said in a statement.
Anyone with information related to drug trafficking, importation or possession is being asked to contact their local police, the Ontario RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-(TIPS).