In 2018, a Manitoba RCMP criminal analyst noticed some trends regarding the international importation of drugs into Canada. When investigators realized they were onto a large-scale domestic operation, Project Divergent was born.
Through intelligence-led policing, the police uncovered a significant Canada-wide operation involving the trafficking of illicit drugs and firearms. The objective of the RCMP was to infiltrate the target groups and dismantle the drug trafficking and importation networks that involved individuals across Canada and internationally.
Multiple police techniques were used to infiltrate the networks, and investigators began to see large-volume transactions happening with cocaine; methamphetamine; opiates, specifically fentanyl; and assault-style firearms and ammunition. A connection with the Hells Angels was discovered.
On February 23, 2022, Damion Ryan, a full patch Hells Angels member with the Attica chapter in Greece, was arrested in Ontario, which was a huge disruption to the supply chain of drugs and guns that he helped facilitate.
Through different means from various targets, Project Divergent officers seized:
- 110 kilos of cocaine
- 41.4 kilos of methamphetamine
- 3 kilos of fentanyl
- .5 kilos of MDMA
- 14 handguns
- 5 assault-style rifles, and
- More than $445,000 in Canadian currency
In total 22 individuals were charged as part of Project Divergent. Officers arrested:
- Enrico Funk, 29, from Freidensruh, Manitoba
- Artjom Gotting, 32, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Nathaniel Cabal, 31, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Trinh Ducthang Dinh, 31, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Zuhair Mohammad-Zarif, 27, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Jesse James Whyte, 26, from Winnipeg,Manitoba
- Damion Patrick Ryan, 41, from Ottawa, Ontario
- Kelvin Lee Nelson, 27, from Burnaby, BC
- Mazin Nzar Zandy, 24, from Burnaby, BC
- Andre Omar Steele, 41, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Brittany Girardeau, 28, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Albert Theodore Jansen, 39, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Sharon Jonatanson, 66, from Libau, Manitoba
- Scott Matthew Jonatanson, 27, from Libau, Manitoba
- Caitlin Jones, 22, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Owen James Quesnel, 33, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- William Solomon Gooding, 24, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Brian Christopher Yakimoski, 28, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Jeffrey David Gaudet, 32, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Dylan Durval South, 28, from Winnipeg, Manitoba
Two individuals are still at large and are wanted by police:
- Kieffer Michael Kramar, 30. He is from Winnipeg, but police believe he could be anywhere in Canada.
- Denis Ivziku, 24, from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It is believed he is still in that area.
Both these individuals are actively evading arrest. If anyone has information, please call the RCMP at 204-983-5420.
"As we have seen in this province and in this country, deaths due to opioid overdose have been staggering," said Inspector Grant Stephen, Officer in Charge of the Federal, Serious, and Organized Crime Section. "Project Divergent disrupted the supply chain and took these drugs off the street. The utter disregard for human life shown by those involved in these networks, specifically those at the top of the chain, became very clear during this investigation, and we were able to take them out of the equation."
"This operation began right here in Manitoba and reached from Vancouver to Toronto, to Colombia, Greece, and the United States," said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, Commanding Officer of the Manitoba RCMP. "The scope and success of Project Divergent was possible because of the tenacity of our investigators and the incredible and unfailing support of our partners. We could not have done this without them."
The partners who assisted the Manitoba RCMP in Project Divergent are:
- Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia
- BC RCMP
- Quebec RCMP
- National Division RCMP in Ontario
- RCMP Liaison Officers in Bogota, Colombia; Rome, Italy; Washington; and Los Angeles
- Winkler Police Service
- Homeland Security Investigations out of Grand Forks, North Dakota
- Ontario Provincial Police, Biker Enforcement Unit, which also includes officers from the Ottawa Police Service
- Colombian National Police
- Hellenic Police in Greece
- Health Canada
- Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)
- Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG)
- Public Prosecution Service of Canada