International Organized Crime Ring Dismantled

TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - On October 26, 2011, eight individuals allegedly belonging to an Asian Organized Crime group were arrested following an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and many other partner agencies.  Warrants of arrest were issued for two (2) additional individuals.  It is alleged that this organized crime group is responsible for shipping numerous containers of counterfeit cigarettes and drug precursors (Phenyl-2-Propanone (P2P)) from Asia to Canada.

This investigation began in 2009 when CBSA officers intercepted a sea container at the Port of Vancouver which contained unstamped and counterfeit cigarettes destined for Toronto.  CBSA officers shared the information with the RCMP.  Over the next two years, the CBSA, RCMP and many other Canadian and international agencies worked in partnership to identify the organization or individuals responsible for the shipments and to locate and seize additional containers bound for Canada.  During the course of the investigation, 11 sea containers were intercepted and seized, seven in Vancouver and four in Toronto. In total, the seizures from the 11 sea containers included 583,600 cartons of cigarettes and 6,270 kilograms of P2P (P2P is listed as a schedule VI substance in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and is a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamines and amphetamines).

On October 26, 2011, arrests and search warrants were executed simultaneously in both British Columbia and Ontario and the following individuals were arrested:

Ze Hua LIAO, 43 yrs., of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Charged with;

  • 23 Counts Make a False or Deceptive Statement - Customs Act s.153(a)
  • 23 Counts Smuggle Goods - Customs Act s.159
  • 2 Counts conspiracy to unlawfully import a controlled substance (1-Phenyl-2-Propane) - CDSA s.6, CC s.465 (1)(c)
  • 4 Counts Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • 4 Counts Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • 4 Counts Conspiracy to possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c)

Qiang ZHOU, 34 yrs., of Markham, Ontario, charged with;

  • Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Conspiracy to possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c) 

Hui SHEN, 44yrs., of Mississauga, Ontario, charged with;

  • 2 Counts of Making False Statement - s.153 Customs Act
  • 2 Counts Smuggling Goods - s.159 Customs Act 

Wei SHEN (Female), 43yrs., of Niagara Falls, Ontario, charged with;

  • Conspiracy to Make a False or Deceptive Statement - Customs Act s.153(a)
  • Conspiracy to Smuggling Goods - s.159 Customs Act 

Genlian LIU, 40yrs., a Chinese National from Kettleby, Ont., charged with;

  • Receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c) 

Minh Boo LAM, 51yrs., of Maple, Ontario, charged with; 

  • Receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c) 

Yun SUN, 44yrs., of Markham, Ontario, charged with;

  • Receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c) 

Chi Wai CHAN, 46, of Burnaby, BC, charged with 

  • Conspiracy to unlawfully import a controlled substance (1-Phenyl-2-Propane) - CDSA s.6, CC s.465 (1)(c)
  • Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • Conspiracy to possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c)

The court date for first appearance, for all eight (8) individuals is scheduled for November 30th, 2011 at Old City Hall Courts (60 Queens St., W., Toronto, Ontario) Court Room 114 at 0900hrs.

In addition to these arrests, Canada Wide arrest warrants have been issued for:

Zhi Xiong HUANG, 32yrs, a Chinese National from Vancouver, BC wanted for;

  • Conspiracy to unlawfully import a controlled substance (1-Phenyl-2-Propane) - CDSA s.6, CC s.465 (1)(c)
  • 2 Counts Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product required to be stamped - Excise Act 29(b), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • 2 Counts Conspiracy to receive for sale a tobacco product fraudulently stamped - Excise Act 29(c), CC 465 (1)(c)
  • 2 Counts Conspiracy to possess a tobacco product not stamped in accordance with EA 32(1), CC 465(1)(c)

Shuting (Charlize) LIN, 36yrs, of Vancouver, BC wanted for;

  • Conspiracy to unlawfully import a controlled substance (1-Phenyl-2-Propane) - CDSA s.6, CC s.465 (1)(c)
  • 4 Counts of Conspiracy to Make a False or Deceptive Statement - Customs Act s.153(a)
  • 5 Counts of Conspiracy to Smuggling Goods - s.159 Customs Act

"The excellent outcome of this investigation clearly demonstrates that the CBSA takes its border protection responsibilities very seriously," said Goran Vragovic, Regional Director General, Greater Toronto Area Region, CBSA. "The positive results of this investigation show how partnership between law enforcement agencies, both domestic and international, can work to advance public safety."

"The RCMP and CBSA work closely together and with other law enforcement agencies to ensure the integrity of our border," said RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, Director General of the Border Integrity Program. "This joint forces operation is an example of the great collaboration among the law enforcement agencies involved."

This investigation is connected to two previous counterfeit cigarette seizures in BC including a shipment seized in April 2010 with approximately 50,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes (LINK: http://www.bc.rcmp.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=1031&languageId=1&contentId=14561)  and a shipment seized in October 2010 with approximately 51, 000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes (LINK: http://www.bc.rcmp.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=1031&languageId=1&contentId=17867).

This investigation is also linked to another joint CBSA and RCMP investigation where more than 6,000 kilograms of the precursor chemical P2P was seized from a shipping container from China in October 2010 (LINK: http://www.bc.rcmp.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=1031&languageId=1&contentId=17707).

The success of this investigation is as a result of the great collaboration between the Canada Revenue Agency, Environment Canada - Enforcement Branch, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ontario Government, British Columbia Ministry of Finance - Investigations Unit, the Toronto Police Service, the People's Republic of China - Ministry of Public Security, the Hong Kong Police, Taiwan's National Police Agency, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, members of the Canada Border Services Agency in both Toronto and Vancouver and the RCMP's Federal Border Integrity Program's Customs and Excise teams in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Media in Toronto area are invited to a media availability session at the Toronto West RCMP Detachment (2755 High Point Dr, Milton, ON) today at 1300 hrs (1 p.m. EST).  Inspector Greg Johnson, Officer in Charge RCMP GTA Customs and Excise Section, and Director Robert Thompson, CBSA GTA Criminal Investigations Division, will be available for interviews and a question and answer session. 

Media in the Vancouver area are invited to join regional spokesperson Colleen Pinvidic, Chief of Operations CBSA Pacific Region, as she speaks to Pacific Region's role in this project. Pinvidic will be available at 1000hrs (10 a.m. PST) at 333 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC.

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police       Canada Border Service Agency
         
Staff Sergeant Tony Gollob
NCO i/c O Division Customs and Excise (Toronto)
905-697-6000 ext.272
      Antonella DiGirolamo
Media Relations (Toronto)
905-803-5366
         
Corporal Annie Linteau
E Division Media Relations Officer (Vancouver)
604-264-2929
      Stefanie Wudel
Media Relations (Vancouver)
604-666-3071

 


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