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Sherbrooke, June 11, 2014 – This morning, members of the RCMP Estrie Detachment arrested 17 individuals in relation to a conspiracy to import and traffic in cocaine. The investigation, called Project Crypto, targeted a criminal organization in the Estrie area that coordinated the importation and trafficking of cocaine from California to Canada using a truck drivers’ network.
The investigation, initiated in January 2011, was conducted jointly with the Sherbrooke RCMP Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit (IPOC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as well as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). Over 135 RCMP police officers from Québec and Ontario took part in this morning’s operation.
The following diagram illustrates the modus operandi of the conspiracy to import and traffic in cocaine thwarted by the RCMP. It is believed that the cocaine was ordered in California by organized crime. A broker allegedly made arrangements with runners in California and another broker made arrangements with truck drivers in Québec and Ontario. The runners allegedly delivered the cocaine to the truck drivers. The cocaine was allegedly concealed in refrigerated trucks in California and smuggled into Canada. Results of the investigation: 7 arrest warrants, 16 other persons targeted, 27 other persons questioned / Conspiracy to traffic 200 kg of cocaine / Estimated value of seized and restrained assets: over $1.5m / Seizure: $36,000 in cash + various firearms operation/ Required the deployment of over 135 officers / Some examples of proceeds of crime: house, car, stable, motorcycle, jeep, suv, boat
The investigators collected substantial evidence in relation to the conspiracy to import and traffic in cocaine that led to charges against the targeted individuals, including the alleged leader Denis Simoneau, 60, of East Bolton.
It is alleged that Simoneau orchestrated the transactions between Quebec and Ontario truck drivers and suppliers in the United States. It is believed that the drugs were concealed in secret compartments inside refrigerated trucks before they left the United States. These trucks contained legitimate goods, mainly fresh fruit and vegetable shipments from California destined to the Canadian food industry. As for the cocaine, it was destined to various criminal organizations in Canada.
The investigators used various investigation techniques to thwart this conspiracy to import as well as a conspiracy to traffic 200 kg of cocaine previously imported to Canada.
The other individuals arrested are:
They are scheduled to appear in court in Granby on June 12 in the morning to face different charges, including conspiracy, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and money laundering under the Controlled Drugs and Other Substances Act. The other individuals arrested and targeted as part of the investigation could face criminal charges.
Raymond Demers, 56, from Sorel, Quebec
(High resolution images: Raymond Demers)
Searches conducted by our investigators of the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit (IPOC) resulted in the seizure of $36,000 in cash, machinery as well as other assets including several luxury vehicles belonging to Denis Simoneau and Diane Poulin-Perreault. Their property was also restrained. The estimated value of the assets seized and restrained is $1.5 million.
The investigation continues and other charges could be filed.
The RCMP and CBSA are partners engaged in the protection of the Canadian borders and these two agencies always work together to protect the safety and security of the public.
The RCMP and its partners would like to remind the public that they intend to pursue their efforts to reduce drug trafficking in Canada and disrupt organized crime groups. Dismantling the infrastructure of these organizations disrupts their ability to use our communities for their criminal activities.
If you have information on illicit activities by individuals or groups, please contact the RCMP at 514-939-8300/1 800 771-5401 or your local police.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police