Police are showing the results of their largest inter-provincial criminal investigation seizure to date with overflowing amounts of seizures.
Eleven individuals will be appearing in court after a massive seizure was undertaken across the city by multiple Winnipeg Police Service departments.
"We are over 11 and a half million (worth of seizures), and if you total in the drugs, we are at 13.3," Winnipeg Police Service's Inspector Max Waddell says.
Operating on intelligence, police say the suspects were identifying themselves as a company and were successful in transporting drugs from British Columbia to Winnipeg, sending the proceeds back to BC.
"It is really about swinging at the right time and it is safe to say we nailed it out of the park this time."
Some of the suspects were known to police.
- 17 Kilograms of Cocaine – Wholesale Value $1.4 Million (Street Value $1.7 Million)
- 3 Ounces of Ecstasy – Street Value of $3000
- 21 lbs Cannabis – Street Value of $63,000
- $2,000,000 Cash
- $107,000 Bit-Coin
- $270,000 - Other Proceeds of Crime (Rolex watches/jewelry with appraisal certificates)
- 110 kilograms of cutting agent – Street Value $22,000
- Numerous digital scales
- Vacuum sealing equipment
- Drug packaging material
- Drug production equipment and respirators
- 41 Cell Phones
- 21 Computers
- 4 Firearms: (Walther P99 9mm Semi-Automatic Handgun, Sig Sauer P226R Legion Handgun, Daniel Defense M4 Carbine Automatic Rifle, Savage Model 110 .308 Caliber Rifle, Various ammunition and firearm components)
Along with the crime, cash and Bitcoin were seized. This was the first time Bitcoin was discovered in a criminal investigation.
"It is very concerning and is the future," Wardell says, noting that Bit-Coin is a way to avoid banks and tracing. "We are going to see more of this involved in the organized crime world."
The group named some of their cocaine Bit-Coin.
They say all areas of the city were affected by this organization, including suburbia. A network of high/mid-level operators and local couriers were used to distribute the drugs.
"Organized crime and the illicit drug trade drives violence, it drives property crime, and it, more importantly, is killing people," Wardell says. "For the police, this is about disrupting organized crime."
Waddell is proud of the work the police's organized crime division, who has been working on the investigation since May, has done.
Property and vehicles were additionally seized in Manitoba and B.C.
Manitoba properties totalling $4,644,000:
- 3 Residential Properties valued at $1,046,000
- 2 Residential Duplex Properties valued at $798,000
- 1 Multi Unit Condominium Property valued at $1,700,000
- 3 Vacant plots of Commercial Property valued at $652,000
- 1 Commercial property valued at $448,000
Manitoba vehicles totalling $230,000:
- 2019 Honda Pilot valued at $50,000
- 2018 Jeep Wrangler valued at $45,000
- 2016 Honda Accord valued at $25,000
- 2003 Acura RSX valued at $4000
- 2016 Honda Civic valued at $21,000
- 2013 Honda Civic valued at $13,000
- 2004 Acura TSX valued at $5000
- 2007 Cadillac Escalade valued at $11,000
- 2015 Honda CRV valued at $21,000
- 2010 Toyota Tundra valued at $16,000
- 2007 Honda CRV valued at $9,000
- 2012 Kia Sorrento valued at $10,000
Acting with counterparts in B.C, the E Division RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Unit made additional seizures in Surrey and Vancouver.
Authorities found $700,000 Cash and 23 grams of cocaine valued at $2300. Police say two properties worth a combined $3,539,000 and $90,500 worth of vehicles were seized:
Project Gold Dust was run by the Organized Crime Unit with the help of Crime Analysis Unit, Guns and Gangs Unit, Drug Enforcement Unit, Affiant Unit, Tactical Support Team, Uniform Operations, Community Support, Canine, Brandon Police Service Organized Crime Unit, Vancouver Police Department, and D Division RCMP.
Police say they are continuing to investigate this operation.