"Project "O-Mercury"

    TORONTO, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - The Niagara Regional Police Service commenced
an undercover operation after an investigation identified a non-traditional
organized crime group was operating in the Niagara Region and elsewhere in the
Golden Horseshoe.
    Members of this group who were previously associated to persons charged
in 'Project Bulldog' established a multi-kilogram level drug trafficking
network to fill the void left by the disruption of the group in 'Project
'Bulldog' in 2005.
    The Niagara Regional Police and members of the Golden Horseshoe Combined
Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) consisting of members from the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Niagara Regional Police Service, Hamilton
Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service and Canada Border Services
Agency (CBSA), commenced Project O-Mercury in January 2008.
    The project was an ongoing investigation into the activities of Dwayne
Forde and associates, trafficking in multiple kilograms of cocaine. This drug
trafficking operation primarily took place in the Regional Municipality of
Niagara. The purpose of this project was to gather evidence in support of
charges for importation, trafficking, and proceeds of crime, as well as
identifying linkages to other criminal organizations.
    The project commenced as an investigation into the street level
distribution of cocaine. Investigators systematically identified persons in
the criminal organization responsible for the importation and trafficking of
multi-kilograms of cocaine as well as the exportation and trafficking of
marihuana at the multi-kilogram level.
    Investigators executed eleven search warrants and effected arrests on 20
adult persons. Those accused face numerous charges, some of which include:
Participating in a Criminal Organization, Proceeds of Crime, Conspiracy to
Traffic in a Controlled Substance (Cocaine and Marihuana), Possession for the
Purpose of Trafficking (Cocaine and Marihuana), Production of a Controlled
Substance (Marihuana), Unlawful Possession of an Explosive, Unauthorized
Possession of a Prohibited Firearm and Unauthorized Possession of a Non
Restricted Firearm.
    Investigators seized 5 kilograms of cocaine, seventy-eight lbs. of
marijuana, 120 marihuana plants, seven illegal firearms including two
semi-automatics pistols and two semi-automatic shotguns. Four other prohibited
weapons and over $830,000 in cash.
    Fifteen motor vehicles were restrained/seized as offence related property
and proceeds of crime.
    The investigation is still ongoing and further charges and seizures are
    20 individuals have been charged and five subjects are still outstanding.
Over 75 criminal charges have been laid to date.

    Persons charged in this project:

    Pha Nguyen, 30 years of age, Niagara Falls
    Wayne Henry, 40 years of age, St. Catharines
    Winston Walker, 44 years of age, Barbados
    Leonard Farinacci Jr., 27 years of age, St. Catharines
    Lucas Farinacci, 28 years, St. Catharines
    Leonard Farinacci Sr., 57 years of age, St. Catharines
    Laura Farinacci 53 years of age, St. Catharines
    Leah Farinacci, 30 years of age, St. Catharines
    Gary Ball, 21 years of age, St. Catharines
    Joseph Nikiczuk, 32 years of age, St. Catharines
    Dwayne Forde, 37 years of age, St. Catharines
    Rosanne Forde, 30 years of age, St. Catharines
    Devere Hurley, 43 years of age, Thorold
    Edgar Hill, 47 years of age, Thorold
    Kent Akiyama, 42 years of age, Niagara Falls
    Robert Dick, 44 years of age, Fonthill
    Darryl Jackson, 30 years of age, Ridgeway
    Jason Wilson, 26 years of age, Thorold
    Gleason Dickensen, 24 years of age, Thorold
    William J. Francis, 29 years of age, Thorold

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Jacquie Forgeron, Niagara
Regional Police, Public Affairs Officer, (905) 688-4111 ext. 5010; Marc
LaPorte, RCMP "O" Division, Media Relations Coordinator, (519) 640-7302

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