Recent raids in Surrey and White Rock, BC resulted in the seizure of cannabis, cash, gold bars, cryptocurrency, luxury cars and the arrest of three connected to an illicit online cannabis store.
BC RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Financial Integrity (FI) unit executed search warrants on two locations in the cities of Surrey and White Rock recently, with federal investigators arresting three suspects for money laundering and drug offences.
Highlighting the length of investigations of online cannabis sellers, the investigation began in 2019. BC RCMP FSOC FI launched an investigation at the time into an online cannabis business that was allegedly distributing drugs through the mail.
During the course of the investigation, investigators found approximately $14 million in alleged proceeds of crime laundered through various companies and their bank accounts. Through a major case investigation, FSOC FI was able to follow the money through bank accounts to the acquisition of real estate, high-end vehicles, and luxury goods.
On November 30, 2022, with the assistance of the BC RCMP Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team, Forensic Identification Services (FIS), Digital Forensics Services (DFS), Emergency Response Team (ERT), and members of the Surrey RCMP detachment, FSOC FI executed the two search warrants.
The main commercial drug site was concealed in a rental home hidden in a residential community several blocks from an elementary school.
The searches uncovered a large, commercial-scale illegal cannabis operation, including a large amount of drugs and several firearms. Federal investigators seized suspected proceeds of crime, including over $200,000 cash, gold bars, cryptocurrency, luxury vehicles such as a McLaren supercar and custom hot rod, motorcycles, and other goods.
Offence-related property, such as cannabis-related items, packaging, promotional material, business documentation, shipping material, and computers, were also seized from the locations.
The BC RCMP Federal Policing Financial Integrity program’s mandate in relation to money laundering is to detect, deter and investigate serious Criminal Code money laundering and proceeds of criminal offences, and combat the highest threats affecting the Canadian economy and its citizens through prevention, detection and deterrence.
Insp. David Gray, acting Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Operations and Financial Integrity unit (FSOC FI) says investigating such online cannabis operations can be difficult.
The successful suppression of this criminal organization’s activities demonstrates the BC RCMP Financial Integrity program’s effectiveness in combatting money laundering offences, which can be extremely challenging to investigate due to their high degree of complexity,” said Gray in an RCMP press release.