RCMP lay charges in gun, drug trafficking ring involving 'well-known' organized crime members
Published Thursday, November 9, 2017 2:12PM EST Last Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017 6:41PM EST
A drug and gun smuggling ring under investigation for the last three years managed to “corrupt” a clerk at the Toronto Police Service and convince her to search police databases on their behalf, the RCMP alleged Thursday.
Supt. Chris Leather says nine people were arrested in raids conducted in Hamilton, Markham, Mississauga, Niagara Region and Montreal this morning and a number of other suspects are sought on Canada wide-warrants.
In the course of 14 raids, police seized drugs including six kilograms of fentanyl and its more powerful cousin, Carefentanil, 20 kilograms of cocaine and 250,000 tablets of various other drugs.
Police also seized three million contraband cigarettes and gambling machines.
Leather said the ring involved “well known organized crime members.”
“They include Domenico Violi, Giuseppe Violi and Massimigliano Carfagna, Adriano Scolieri and Wojciech Grzesiowki,” Leather said.
One of those men, Wojciech Grzesiowki of Innisfil, Ont., who is still at large, allegedly convinced Erin Manaran, a Toronto police civilian employee, to make “queries” of police databases for him and his organization.
Toronto police allege Manaran accessed the databases in Feb. and Sept. of 2014. She was charged with two counts of breach of trust on July 20, 2016.
The RCMP now says she is facing a total of 20 counts of breach of trust in relation to the illegal database searches.
Leather said the sustained seizures of fentanyl, an opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin, have given way to the discovery of even more powerful opoids which were previously only used to sedate large animals and are often lethal to drug users.
“Even more powerful substitutes are beginning to appear. Shipments of Carefentanil and W18, which are both 100 times stronger than fentanyl, have recently been seized by police in Canada.”
The suspects are also accused of money laundering and illegal gaming. A number of luxury vehicles and weapons were also seized in the raids.
Leather said the accused were linked to La Cosa Nostra crime families operating in New York State, and a number of people were arrested there by the FBI for related offences.
All those arrested in Ontario appeared in Milton court for bail hearings today. They face a combined total of 75 charges including participating in a criminal organization, conspiracy to import a controlled substance and trafficking firearms.
The other suspects still outstanding are Giuseppe Violi of Hamilton, Massimigliano Carfagna of Burlington, Yin Yun Leong of Markham and Witton Luu of Toronto.