RCMP are offering a reward of up to $50,000 in an effort to catch a former Burnaby, B.C., resident wanted on charges of money laundering in connection with an organized crime group.
Cong Dinh, 32, is believed to have fled Canada for Vietnam in 2013, according to the RCMP’s Federal Serious Organized Crime (FSOC) unit. But police say they believe that since then Mr. Dinh, who is a Canadian citizen, may have returned to the Lower Mainland.
During a news conference Tuesday, RCMP Chief Superintendent Keith Finn, who is in charge of federal policing in B.C., announced that police have partnered with the Be on the Lookout (Bolo) Program to offer the reward for any information leading to Mr. Dinh’s arrest. The program, a privately funded initiative aimed at using social media to raise awareness of wanted offenders, will also launch a campaign in print, on television, on radio, online and on billboards throughout Canada.
A Canada-wide warrant for Mr. Dinh’s arrest was issued in 2013 after he was charged with five counts of laundering the proceeds of crime and one count of possession of property obtained by crime.
“However, Dinh is believed to have fled Canada to Vietnam prior to charges being approved, and despite our continued efforts he has not been located,” Chief Supt. Finn told reporters at the B.C. RCMP headquarters in Surrey.
Maxime Langlois, head of the Bolo Program, warned Mr. Dinh that “someone here in the Lower Mainland, where you’re from, knows exactly where you are.” Mr. Langlois also said that with the information campaign and the reward offer, which can be awarded anonymously, “the loyalty of [Mr. Dinh’s] friends and associates will be tested.”
The charges against Mr. Dinh relate to an international money-laundering investigation that dates back to 2009 and 2010, carried out jointly by the RCMP, the California Division of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Investigators believe that a Vietnamese organized crime group laundered $2.7-million obtained from trafficking cocaine and ecstasy. Chief Supt. Finn, who is in charge of federal policing in B.C., said the criminal group had a drug-trafficking network that was allegedly moving ecstasy and marijuana south to the United States and cocaine north to Canada.
“This network included affiliations in California, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam and across Canada,” Chief Supt. Finn said.
According to the information distributed by the Bolo Program, Mr. Dinh provided an undercover police operator with the proceeds from the drug sales, which were to be converted into U.S. funds and then dropped off at public places in California.
In 2010, Orange County, Calif., resident Minh Nguyen was arrested in connection with this joint investigation. Mr. Nguyen, 32, pleaded guilty to money laundering and drug trafficking in 2013 and was sentenced to eight years in prison in the U.S.
The investigation also led the authorities to raid Mr. Dinh’s Burnaby home. Mr. Dinh is believed to have fled to Vietnam around the same time.
The $50,000 reward, available until June 3, 2020, is being offered by the RCMP, the Bolo Program, and Metro Vancouver’s Crime Stoppers, which is offering an additional $5,000 reward for any information leading to the suspect’s arrest.