Saskatchewan RCMP say they have concluded a 17 month investigation into the distribution of illicit cannabis and tobacco products between three provinces.
Police allege that they uncovered cannabis products from British Columbia being purchased by a group in Saskatchewan and then exchanged for tobacco products from a group in Quebec.
Police seized some 31 kg of cannabis, 5,152 g of shatter, $573,735 in Canadian currency, and 2,856,500 cigarettes.
Since March of last year, the Saskatchewan RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit (FSOC) conducted over 50 searches of businesses, residences and vehicles for evidence. The length and in-depth nature of the case highlights how many police resources go into large scale busts of this nature.
The investigation resulted in eight people being arrested and one person being issued a summons. The nine individuals are facing a combined total of 64 charges for a variety of offences, some of which include Criminal Code Conspiracy offenses, Cannabis Act offenses, Excise Act offenses and Proceeds of Crime offenses including Possessing Property Obtained by Crime for the Purpose of Trafficking and Trafficking in Property Obtained by Crime.
Seven of those charged are from Saskatchewan, two from British Columbia. The accused are all scheduled to make their first appearance in Provincial Court in Regina on September 10, 2020, at 9:30am.
“Organized crime affects the daily lives of Canadians, financially and especially with their health and safety,” said Inspector Andrew Farquhar, of the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Federal, Serious and Organized Crime Unit. “We remain committed to using an intelligence-led, integrated approach in our investigations to reduce the demand for illicit products and the threat of organized crime.”
FSOC works in conjunction with domestic and international partners to disrupt, dismantle and support prosecution of serious and organized crime groups and their members.
Of note, although it’s unknown if it’s the same person, one of the names of those charged matches the name of an individual connected to an organized crime investigation in 2013 that also involved cannabis, as well as other drugs and weapons and cash moving between BC and Saskatchewan.