A cross-country drug and money laundering investigation has culminated with the arrest of 10 people and the seizure of eight vehicles, more than 272 kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
The seven-month investigation, dubbed "LIE SEE" in Ontario and "E-PARANYM" in British Columbia, ended Tuesday with the execution of 11 search and arrest warrants across both provinces.
In B.C., authorities seized $120,000 cash and 256 kg of marijuana, which has a street value of more than $1-million. In Ontario, authorities seized about $540,000 cash and 45 kg of marijuana, which has a street value of about $250,000.They also seized eight vehicles, including a Porsche, as offence-related properties and proceeds of crime.
Ten people were arrested without incident, including two in B.C. Of those, one was a 26-year-old man at a Richmond residence and a 29-year-old man at a New Westminster residence, said Sergeant Lindsey Houghton, spokesman for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. They have been remanded into custody and will be transported back to Ontario to face charges.
Of the remaining eight, seven were from Toronto and one from London, Ont., said Detective Staff-Sergeant Dominic Chong of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Seven of the 10 accused are in their 20s, one is in his 30s and two in their 50s.
The investigation began in April after police received information about the group and was led by Ontario's Asian Organized Crime Task Force, for which Det. Staff-Sgt. Chong is a spokesperson. Nine of the 10 people arrested are Asian, but Det. Staff-Sgt. Chong warned against reading too much into its significance.
"Asian organized crime is recognized by the United Nations as a unique and distinct crime genre, similar to the mafia, so as a result of that, our unit was formed to address that organized crime problem," he said.
"We're tasked to deal with organized crime elements that operate within, and/or prey upon Asian communities throughout Ontario."
Sgt. Houghton said the joint investigation "reaffirms that the intelligence sharing and co-operation between law enforcement throughout the country is unparalleled.
"As criminals do business across Canada, so will we, and it is essential that we continue to participate in co-ordinated investigations to make our country safer," he said.
The Ontario-based accused were scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, while the two from B.C. are scheduled to appear on Friday.