International Drug Ring Dismantled

Seven people arrested in an elaborate marihuana enterprise

TORONTO, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - The RCMP Criminal Organization Marihuana Enforcement Team (COMET) and Toronto Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit (TIPOC), working in conjunction with other RCMP Detachments in Ontario and several other police services, including: the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) Drug Units, the Toronto Police Service Drug Squad Clan Team, the York Regional Police, the Waterloo Regional Police, Peel Regional Police and with assistance from Canada Border Services Agency, have disrupted a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise responsible for the production, distribution and exportation of marihuana and MDMA (ecstasy) as well as the importation of cocaine.

Dubbed project "OMACDONALD", this 18 month long investigation identified a sophisticated criminal enterprise based in the Greater Toronto Area that maintained control of all stages within their illicit drug trade. Criminal organizers were responsible for the identification and acquisition of both residential and rural (outdoor) properties used for marihuana production and controlled all aspects of the operation, including its distribution. Crop tenders with special skills in cultivation, fertilization and harvesting tended to the various grow operations. The marihuana yield was packaged and shipped for distribution, mainly into the United States. Members of that same organization were also responsible for the distribution of MDMA (ecstasy) from clandestine labs to major cities in the United States as well as the smuggling of cocaine from the United States into Canada.

To date, 17 people have been charged with drug-related offences in relation to this international drug network responsible for the production and distribution of prohibited substances in both Canada and the United States.

    Arrested and charged are:

    1.  Huu Hat LE, age 44 of Toronto, Ontario
    2.  Trung Vinh LAO, age 40 of Toronto, Ontario
    3.  Cong Thanh TRAN, age 43 of Brampton, Ontario
    4.  Xu Feng LI, age 40 of Markham, Ontario
    5.  Dai Wei NG, age 44 of Toronto, Ontario
    6.  Dung Hu Pham, age 43 of Mississauga, Ontario
    7.  Ju Wen ZHOU, age 35 of Markham, Ontario

During the course of this lengthy investigation 25,000 outdoor and indoor marihuana plants were seized with an estimated street value of $25 million dollars. In addition, 208,000 tabs of MDMA (ecstasy) with an estimated street value of $4 million dollars. With the assistance of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Criminal Organization Marihuana Enforcement Team (COMET) seized 5 kilograms of cocaine.

The investigation culminated with the execution of 9 search warrants on Wednesday, December 16 which resulted in the seizure of an indoor Marihuana Grow Operation (MGO) containing 240 marihuana plants, 2 pounds of dried marihuana, several hundred MDMA (ecstasy) tabs, thousands of dollars in cash and a bladed weapon.

The DEA have also arrested and charged 3 people in relation to this criminal organization. The arrests were the direct result of inter-agency cooperation.

Warrants of arrest have been issued for the remaining seven subjects. The investigation continues.

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information: For further information: Sergeant Marc LaPorte, Media Relations Officer, RCMP "O" Division, Office: (519) 640-7302, Mobile: (416) 992-4409

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