OPP shut down large multi-million dollar organized crime sting manufacturing at Six Nations

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND-About a dozen people, including three men living at Ohsweken, with ties to organized crime, are facing a raft of charges after a year-long OPP investigation into a tobacco manufacturing facility on Six Nations.

OPP raided a Six Nations manufacturing plant. (OPP Photo)

using the Six Nations facility as a base for contraband tobacco manufacture and distribution.

The investigation, dubbed Project Cairnes, started in July 2018 when the Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Team (CTET) began an investigation into the trafficking of contraband tobacco from the manufacturing facility on Six Nations.

The investigation revealed the tobacco was being assembled into contraband cigarettes at this facility, after which it was trafficked to other parts of Ontario and Canada, including British Columbia, where it was sold on the street.

Police say the accused are closely associated with members of Traditional Organized Crime (TOC) and other organized crime groups.

In addition to the production and trafficking of contraband tobacco, police uncovered drug trafficking networks which were responsible for large shipments of illicit cannabis occurring on a weekly basis from British Columbia to Ontario.

Police say the Six Nations manufacturing facility was operated by an organized crime group and is unregulated.

Seized during the raid. (Photo Supplied By OPP)

The operation was not a legal, regulated cigarette manufacturing operation, the OPP said in a press release, and said the criminal organization controlling these facilities is from the Greater Toronto Area.

“The residents of the Six Nations Territory have not seen any investment into their communities from the profits of this illegal operation and it has in no way benefitted the community,” police said.

One Ohsweken man is facing a raft of charges in relation to the operation.

Brian Denisson, 61, of Ohsweken is facing the following charges:

-trafficking in contraband tobacco

-four counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence

-participation in a criminal organization

-commission of an offence for a criminal organization

-possession of property or proceeds obtained by the commission of an offence

-manufacturing a tobacco product without a license

-packaging or stamping of tobacco products

-unlawful possession or sale of tobacco products

-unlawful possession of tobacco manufacturing equipment

In addition two Chiefswood Road men Elvis Wythe, 64,  and his son Derek Wythe, 35,  are facing a series of charges.

 

Based on evidence gathered throughout the duration of the investigation and the identification of a cocaine and fentanyl trafficking network operating in the GTA, six people were arrested and charged with 98 offences on April 18, when a threat to public safety was uncovered, police said.

The charges laid include conspiracy to commit murder, firearms possession, drug trafficking and driving-related offences.

Further investigation resulted in more charges laid on June 1 when police conducted 13 search warrants in five Ontario locations including Ohsweken, Toronto, Oakville, Markham, and Mississauga. The investigation also stretched out to Montreal, as well as Richmond and Vancouver, in British Columbia.

Project Cairnes led to the seizure of:

-11.5 million contraband cigarettes, with a street value in Ontario of about $942,000 and a street value in British Columbia of about $2.6 million

-1,714 pounds of cannabis with an estimated street value of $2.5 million

-Three handguns and associated ammunition

-A cocaine press

-1.14 kilograms of cocaine

-10.2 kilograms of Piperidone

-1.3 kilograms of fentanyl

-$236,750 in Canadian currency

-Seven vehicles as offence-related property

Collectively, the tax loss associated with the tobacco is $3.3 million, police said.

Ten people were arrested on June 1 and charged with 120 offences.

Altogether, 16 people have been arrested for 218 offences throughout Project Cairnes.

All of the accused have been charged and released and are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court in July and August.

“Project Cairnes has focused on a criminal organization producing and trafficking contraband tobacco on an industrial scale throughout Canada,” said Det. Inspector Jim Walker, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Team (CTET). “While this investigation has aimed to dismantle this one particular group and their blatant disregard for the regulations surrounding tobacco, there are many operating simultaneously. CTET plays an integral role in the disruption of these networks and the proceeds they generate. These high profit operations are often utilized to fund other criminal activities, as demonstrated by vast amount charges laid including conspiracy to commit murder.”

The investigation was led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) along with the OPP-led CTET and Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), Ministry of Finance (MOF) in Ontario and British Columbia and FINTRAC.

FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) is Canada’s government-run financial intelligence unit.

The following individuals are facing charges:

Giovanni Raimondi, 38, of Toronto; Zhi Jun Liu, 57, of Vancouver; Van Khai Tang, 55, of Toronto; King Ming Chan, 61, of Markham; Jing Git Wong, 50, of Scarborough; Nguyen Quang, 64, of Markham; Elvis Wythe, 64, of Hagersville; Derek Wythe, 35, of Hagersville; Brian Denisson, 61, of Ohsweken; Tuan-Ky Quach, 50, of Vancouver; Gurvir Deol, 25, of Brampton; Justin Boya, 28, of Brampton; Hamed Shahnawaz, 30, of Brampton; Dilraj Sunner, 23, of Mississauga; Surinder Cheema, 26, of Brampton; Ahmad Shamszada, 34, of Toronto; and Liban Hussein, 26, of Weston.

Hundreds of charges were laid, including drug trafficking offences, firearms offences, conspiracy to commit murder, participation in organized crime, and contraband tobacco offences.

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