Police in Ontario say they have dismantled a “sophisticated” drug trafficking and money laundering scheme that included tens of thousands of cannabis plants across six farms, thousands of kilograms of dried cannabis, and over a million dollars in cash seized.
Five individuals are facing charges relating to illicit cannabis production, money laundering, and the proceeds of crime. One farm and three Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residences were also seized.
The Hamilton-Niagara RCMP, with the assistance of the OPP and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada—the national financial intelligence agency of Canada (FINTRAC)—began the investigation in 2017 when the RCMP began gathering information about a potential money laundering scheme that was operating through casinos in the GTA and Niagara regions.
As a result of their investigation, the RCMP then discovered that over three million dollars in Canadian currency was being laundered from the illegal sale of over 8,000 pounds of cannabis.
Police valued the total amount of cannabis seized—29,975 cannabis plants (yielding what police say is up to 18,781 pounds of dried cannabis), along with 7,926 pounds (3,595 kg) of dried cannabis—at approximately $24,282,112 CAD, or about $1,000 a pound.
Search warrants were executed on five residences and six large-scale cannabis growing operations, resulting in the seizures.