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Royal Canadian Mounted Police uncovers money laundering scheme at casinos

Publish Date: 07/07/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Hamilton-Niagara branch has unveiled a huge money-laundering scheme involving casinos in Niagara and the Greater Toronto Area involving several individuals. The RCMP also said the money was coming from drug trafficking and illegal marijuana.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) have collaborated with the RCMP in this probe that started in 2017.

Officer in Charge of District Command for the Hamilton-Niagara RCMP, Superintendent Jeff Cooper released a statement and applauded this joint collaboration.

“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,” Cooper said.

Cooper added that law enforcement welcomes public assistance and vigilance, and also points out that with public help, informing the authorities of any suspicious activities “will help us be even more effective.”

The law enforcement confiscated a total of 29,975 cannabis plants that were estimated to weigh around 8,520 kilograms (7,926 pounds) of dried cannabis, 3,595 kilograms of dried weed and apporimately $1 million (USD $766,850) in cash, RCMP wrote a report.

The investigation led to a discovery that more than $3 million had been laundered from the illegal sale of around 3,630 kilograms of weed through casinos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and southwestern Ontario’s Niagara region, especially in the region of the Golden Horseshoe. The total value of all confiscated cannabis was approximately CAD $24,282,112 (USD $18.6 million)

Five people have been charged with a total of 29 counts of criminal offenses, including illegal sale of marijuana, money laundering and owning property acquired through crime.

The Canadian government has received the report and has promised to work to combat this issue by reconstructing money-laundering federal policy and measures.

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