On September 28, 2020, Victor Vargotskii was arrested in Argentina on an international arrest warrant. Francisco Javier Jimenez Guerrero was arrested on October 24, 2019 in Spain.
Yesterday, RCMP police officers arrested 17 individuals involved in a vast international money laundering network. This major investigation targeted a criminal organization in Montréal and Toronto. The raid mobilized more than 300 police officers and partners.
The investigation was led by the Integrated Proceeds of Crime unit, in cooperation with RCMP investigators from Ontario and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The investigation was conducted from 2016 to 2018 following information received from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
An elaborate money‑laundering scheme
The network's members facilitated the collection of money from criminal groups in Montréal and then laundered the results of their illegal business. In particular, the network offered a money transfer service to drug exporting countries.
The network moved money that was collected in Montréal through various individuals and currency exchange offices in Toronto. The network used an informal value transfer system (IVTS) with connections in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the United States and China. The funds were then returned to drug exporting countries, such as Colombia and Mexico.
This procedure allowed for the laundering of significant amounts of money originating from illegal activities, including drug trafficking. The criminal organizations could thus import drugs through this network.
The scheme set up by the network for criminal purposes was identified and dismantled.
Proceeds of crime seized
During the investigation and the searches, police officers seized significant quantities of drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, hashish and methamphetamine, for a market value of close to $2.2 million. Bank accounts and money in Canadian and foreign currencies was also seized, for a value of $8.7 million. The CRA also proceeded with the restraint of six properties, of an estimated value of $15 million. The RCMP also seized a considered offence-related property of an estimated value of $7 million. To date, the estimated value of the assets that were seized or restrained is more than $32.8 million.
Charges were laid against 17 individuals, including the two individuals who are the network's alleged leaders, Nader Gramian-Nik, 56 years old, from Vaughan (Ontario cell) and Mohamad Jaber, 51 years old, from Laval (Quebec cell).
- Mohamad Jaber, 51 years old, Laval
- Kamel Ghaddar, 39 years old, Laval
- Eric Bradette, 36 years old, L'Assomption
- Sergio Violetta Galvez, 43 years old, Laval
- Alexei Parasenco, 26 years old, Montréal
- Victor Vargotskii, 56 years old, Montréal
- Mario Maratta 64, years old, Sainte-Sophie
- Sorin Ehrlich, 62 years old, Montréal
- Gary Maybee, 57 years old, Austin
- Francisco Javier Jimenez Guerrero, 35 years old, address unknown
- Nader Gramian-Nik, 56 years old, Vaughan
- Tania Geramian-Nik, 28 years old, Vaughan
- Frederick Rayman, 71 years old, Unionville
- Sahar Shojaei, 45 years old, Thornhill
- Thomas Hsueh, 47 years old, Thornhill
- Mohammadreza Sheikhhassani, 55 years old, Richmond Hill
- Shabnam Mansouri, 38 years old, Maple
These individuals are facing a number of charges:
- possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking
- instructing the commission of an offence for a criminal organization
- commission of offence for criminal organization
- trafficking in property obtained by crime
- laundering proceeds of crime
Three individuals arrested during yesterday's operations were also interrogated and released without charges.
Fighting organized crime
This operation conducted by the RCMP and its partners disrupted the activities of criminal organizations that import drugs. It cut them off their money transferring network and allowed for the confiscation of significant sums.
Do you have information about the illegal activities of individuals or groups of individuals? Contact the RCMP at 514-939-8300 / 1-800-771-5401 or your local police department.