A number of individuals will appear in court on March 8, 2021 to face charges stemming from an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) related to human trafficking.
In October 2018, the RCMP – Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment and the CBSA – Southern Ontario Region began a joint investigation into human trafficking by a group of individuals facilitating the entry of foreign nationals from Mexico to Canada, in Ontario and Quebec. The foreign nationals entered the country as visitors via Toronto Pearson International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport and the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. The investigation revealed these individuals were illegally gaining employment in different lines of work, mostly in the Hamilton-Niagara Region, through employment agencies operated by members of the group who had facilitated their entry into Canada. The foreign nationals were being exploited by the group members and their respective companies. Some of those agencies were identified as Nora Services, operated by Nora Rivera Franco, Trillium Management, operated by Christian Vitela and Bryan Enterprise Agency, operated by Miurel Bracamonte.
In July and September 2019, the RCMP and CBSA, in conjunction with the Hamilton Police Service, executed a total of 8 search warrants in the Golden Horseshoe area in Ontario; 7 in Hamilton and 1 in Milton. These searches revealed approximately 80 foreign nationals who were residing in sub-standard conditions, where many individuals slept on the floor on mattresses and the housing was infested with bed bugs, cockroaches and other vermin.
As a result of the investigation, the following 6 individuals have been charged:
• Christian Vitela (age 33), from Milton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (9 counts) and Material benefit-trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code;
• Mario Roca Morales (age 47), from Hamilton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (8 counts) and Material benefit-trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code;
• Cheang Kim (age 60), from Hamilton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (3 counts) and Material benefit-trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code;
• Miurel Bracamonte (age 43), from Hamilton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (4 counts) and Material benefit-trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code;
• Nora Rivera Franco (age 36), from Hamilton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (5 counts) and Material benefit- trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code;
• Myriam Vitela (age 55), from Hamilton, Ontario was charged with Human trafficking (5 counts) and Material benefit-trafficking, contrary to the Criminal Code.
These individuals are scheduled to appear at the John Sopinka Courthouse located at 45 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario. The RCMP and CBSA continue their investigation and further charges are pending.
"This investigation showcases how effectively the RCMP works with our partner agencies to combat crime and ensure the safety of all our citizens. The investigation uncovered a group of individuals exploiting foreign nationals, as well as manipulating our immigration systems and processes for personal gain and profit. I would like to further extend a thank-you and express appreciation to CBSA, Hamilton Police Victim Services Branch, Ontario Victim Services, City of Hamilton, Hamilton Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, Halton Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Niagara Regional Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Ontario Works, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). The assistance of all of our municipal, provincial and federal partners with this investigation ensured a successful outcome with the foremost concern for the health and safety of the foreign nationals and the community."
- Insp. Ann Koenig, Officer in Charge, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment
"This investigation demonstrates the effective collaboration between the CBSA and its law enforcement partners to prevent illegal activity in our communities. These partnerships are critical to the Agency's success in enhancing enforcement and intelligence efforts."
- Linda Robertson, Director (a), Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Division, Southern Ontario Region, Canada Border Services Agency
Law enforcement agencies work diligently to make our communities a safer place to live, however your assistance in remaining vigilant and recognizing suspicious activities will help us be even more successful.
If you have information about any foreign nationals being illegally employed, please contact the CBSA Border Watch Line at 1-888-502-9060.
If you wish to report criminal activity in your area, you can contact your local police, the Ontario RCMP at 1-800-387-0020, or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), at any time.