Federal investigators have seized more than $200,000 cash as well as gold bars, cryptocurrency, luxury vehicles, including a McLaren supercar and a custom hot rod, and motorcycles – all suspected of being proceeds of crime – after search warrants were executed in Surrey and White Rock, RCMP announced Tuesday (Dec. 13).
Additionally, three suspects have been arrested, accused of laundering $14 million in proceeds of crime.
Stemming from an investigation launched in early 2019, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Financial Integrity (FI) unit investigated an online cannabis business that was allegedly distributing drugs through mail, RCMP said in a release.
During the investigation, approximately $14 million in alleged proceeds of crime was found laundered through various companies, and bank accounts.
Through a major case investigation, FSOC FI was able to follow the money through bank accounts, to the acquisition of real estate, high-end vehicles, and luxury goods, RCMP said.
Cpl. Arash Seyed of BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) providing an update on the 3 suspects who were arrested after BC RCMP executed two search warrants in Surrey, White Rock. @peacearchnews https://t.co/XgPqUHXkgc— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) December 13, 2022
The search warrants were executed on Nov. 30 on associated locations in the cities of Surrey and White Rock, with the main commercial drug site concealed in a rental home hidden in a residential community several blocks from an elementary school.
The searches uncovered a large, commercial-scale illegal cannabis operation, RCMP said, including a large amount of drugs and several firearms.
“Money laundering is a serious offence that is often connected to organized crime. It poses a major threat to the security of our nation and jeopardizes the stability of our financial institutions,” said RCMP Cpl. Arash Seyed of BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Financial Integrity (FI) unit at a press conference in Surrey Tuesday.
“Therefore, the BC RCMP (FSOC FI) unit takes a comprehensive approach to investigating money laundering offences and works closely with our partners to dispute and dismantle the criminal networks involved in these offenses.”
Offence-related property, such as cannabis-related items, packaging, promotional material, business documentation, shipping material, and computers were also seized from the locations.
Because of the complex nature of the case and the other partners involved, Seyed said it was not at the RCMP’s discretion to display the seized vehicles and items related to the arrests.
The three people charged are no longer in custody, he said.
The successful suppression of this criminal organization’s activities demonstrates the BC RCMP Financial Integrity program’s effectiveness in combatting money laundering offences, that can be extremely challenging to investigate due to their high degree of complexity, said RCMP Insp. David Gray, acting Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP FSOC FI.
RCMP are reminding the public that money laundering is a serious crime that affects the safety and security of Canadians, as well as the international community.
It is a process used to disguise the source of money, or assets that come from illegal means, and it is often linked to organized crime, and in certain cases also finance terrorism.
RCMP say you can do your part in protecting Canadians, and the integrity of our financial sector by reporting such crimes to your local police agency, or anonymously through the BC Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-222-8477.