A court has ordered that a Newmarket, Ont. man arrested in a 2021 human trafficking investigation forfeit $4 million in cash as part of his sentencing hearing earlier this month, marking the largest cash seizure in York Regional Police (YRP) history.

In an Ontario Court of Justice hearing on Nov. 16, Di Luan, 39, of Richmond Hill, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail after pleading guilty to charges of procuring, advertising sexual services, and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.

Justice Amit Ghoush also ordered that $4 million seized during Luan's arrest be forfeited, police said in a release issued this week.

York Regional Police launched the initial trafficking investigation, dubbed Project Eonni, in November 2020 after "information led officers to believe that an organized group of suspects operating a company called Moon Waiting VIP was involved in human trafficking throughout the (Toronto area.)" 

Nearly a year later, YRP, working with the Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Canada Border Services Agency, executed 20 search warrants in the GTA, charging six people, including the primary suspect, Luan, and seizing $4-million in cash from the Richmond Hill, Ont. resident.

At this month's sentencing hearing, Harold Lai, 42, was also convicted of materially benefitting from sexual services and received a 15-month conditional sentence and probation.

Another accused, Jia Zhi LI, 50, received a conditional discharge for possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and was given 18 months probation, police said.

In its release, YRP pointed anyone who believes they may be a victim of trafficking to a national hotline, established through the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking for victims and survivors. The number to call is 1-833-900-1010.