Police have arrested 10 people after breaking up an alleged organized crime ring that was apparently making a decent commission trafficking drugs between B.C. and Ontario.
Investigators in both provinces swooped in this week and dismantled the group, seizing more than $2 million worth of marijuana, property and cash as they wrapped up a seven-month, joint-forces investigation dubbed Project Lie-See.
“I think it’s pretty substantial,” Dominic Chong, of the Asian Organized Crime Task Force (AOCTF), said Wednesday.
“Organized crime is money driven,” he said. “And we’ve taken $660,000 out of someone’s pockets.”
Chong said AOCTF — comprised of officers from police services in Toronto, York and Peel as well as the OPP, RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency — worked with B.C’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit during the lengthy operation to track “the drug trafficking and money-laundering activities of criminal organizations.”
Project Lie-See, which means commission in Cantonese, came to a head Tuesday as officers executed eight search warrants in the GTA and another three in the Greater Vancouver Area.
Those arrested included two “father and son teams,” and officers seized nearly 300 kilos of pot — worth $1.2 million “wholesale” and $660,000 in cash.
Chong said the alleged crime ring is accused of shipping marijuana from B.C. to Ontario to be sold on the streets of the GTA.
Although it’s not a “huge” bust, he believes it will have a positive impact on community safety and serve as a warning to others involved in the drug trade.
“It also sends a very clear message that crime doesn’t pay,” Chong said.
Drug traffickers may enjoy a lucrative lifestyle temporarily, he said, “but eventually we will catch up to you.”
The accused face an assortment of drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges.
Charged are Toronto residents Bryan Quoc Toan Lam, 27, Steve Thanh Hien Tran, 30, Trung Le Lam, 54, Thanh Sau Tran, 52, and David Hoc Troung, 24. Also charged were Tan Nguyen, 26, and Wali Seddiqi, 29 — both of Vancouver, and Ba Tuan Tran, 24, of London.
Toronto residents Joe Viet Troung, 27, and Michael Tuan Van Nguyen, 23, were also arrested on possession for the purpose of trafficking charges.