RCMP NL Project Badminton disrupts crime group engaged in drug and human trafficking

September 15, 2022
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

News release


A man in a police uniform and two women sit at a table with microphones in front of them with an RCMP backdrop.
Four cell phones, brass knuckles, a handgun with two magazines and a number of bullets, six bundles of money, two laptops, a variety of illicit pills, cannabis and blocks of cocaine sit on a white display table.
Weapons, money, and illicit drugs can be seen on a white table.
A variety of illicit drugs and two laptops can be seen on a white table.

A criminal organization engaged in drug and human trafficking has been significantly disrupted as the result of Project Badminton, a 30-month investigation led by RCMP NL Federal Serious and Organized Crime, in partnership with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the RCMP-RNC Joint Force Operation West (JFO West). The RCMP provided details of Project Badminton today at a news conference with spokespersons Inspector Stefan Thoms, RCMP NL Federal Serious and Organized Crime; Constable Colleen Noble, RCMP NL Federal Serious and Organized Crime; and Angela Crockwell, Executive Director of Thrive, which runs Blue Door, a program supporting individuals exiting sexually exploitative situations.

"Project Badminton disrupted a drug trafficking network that funneled cocaine and other drugs from British Columbia and Ontario into Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly to the West Coast and Northern Peninsula," said Inspector Thoms. "The work of our investigators not only resulted in the disruption of this highly organized network but also in the laying of human trafficking charges for the first time by RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador. The diligence and exceptional work of the Project Badminton investigators in gathering the evidence to support these charges is commendable."

Four residents of St. John's were arrested and face multiple criminal charges.

Thirty-five-year-old Dominic Delisle is charged with the following criminal human trafficking charges:

  • Transportation for the Purpose of Exploitation
    • Exercising Control, Direction or Influence for the Purpose of Exploitation
    • Receiving Financial or other Material Benefit, obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from trafficking in persons
    • Receiving Financial Benefit from Sexual Services

"Human trafficking is a serious crime that impacts the most vulnerable people in our society, women in particular, and exists right here in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Constable Colleen Noble. "Traffickers use manipulation, control, deception and violence or the threat of violence to coerce victims into providing sexual or other services for the direct profit of the trafficker. These perpetrators often identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the victims they prey on to gain power in the relationships. I commend Blue Door for the important work they do in supporting victims and we are very appreciative of the information and support they provided to Project Badminton."

Angela Crockwell sees first hand the impacts of human trafficking on individuals preyed upon by traffickers.

"Human trafficking is occurring throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and has been for a long time," said Ms. Crockwell. "Since 2017, Thrive's Blue Door Program has supported 85 people who experienced sexual exploitation and/or trafficking, and many of these experiences occurred in many rural and remote parts of our province. There are many misconceptions about what sex trafficking looks like locally, therefore education and awareness are critical to ensure people affected can be identified and supported appropriately."

In addition to criminal charges involving human trafficking, Delisle is charged with the following criminal offences:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Weapon obtained by the Commission of an Offence
  • Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition without Authorization of Licence
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Restricted Weapon while prohibited

Twenty-four-year-old Erik Mello is charged with the following criminal offences:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Possession of a Weapon obtained by the Commission of an Offence
  • Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition without Authorization of Licence.

Further charges are expected for both Delisle and Mello.

Two other males face charges including Trafficking (Cocaine), Conspiracy to Traffick (Cocaine), and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Cocaine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl).

Project Badminton resulted in the seizure of:

  • In excess of five kilograms of cocaine
  • 3000 counterfeit Oxycodone pills laced with Fentanyl and THC (see Backgrounder below)
  • 320 Supeudol (Oxycodone) pills
  • 60 Dilaudid pills
  • $26,000 cash
  • Sixteen pounds of cannabis
    • A loaded semi-automatic restricted handgun with an extended magazine.

To learn more about how to recognize human trafficking, visit Recognizing human trafficking victims | Royal Canadian Mounted Police (rcmp-grc.gc.ca).

RCMP NL Federal Serious and Organized Crime targets criminal activity involving national security, transnational and serious organized crime and cyber crime throughout the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador.




Contact information

Strategic Communications and Media Relations Unit

Angela Crockwell
Executive Director
709-754-0536 Ext. 201


BACKGROUNDER: The dangers of illegal counterfeit pills and safeguards to follow
Counterfeit pills are illegally manufactured by criminal drug networks and are made to look like real prescription opioid medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet or dilaudid); these pills have often been found to contain fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, even a small amount can cause an overdose or be fatal. It has no taste or smell and cannot be seen. It comes in many forms: powder, pill, liquid, and blotter. It can be mixed with other substances. Often times, people who ingest fentanyl do so unknowingly, which can cause adverse reactions to the drug.
The illicit manufacturing of these types of pills increases the possibility of overdose. The illicit drug trade has no safe guards and dosage amounts are often inconsistent, which can have fatal consequences.
If you or someone you know is using illicit or counterfeit pills, please consider the following safe guards:
• Avoid using drugs when you are alone. If this is not possible, ask a friend to check in on you.
• If possible, call someone before using drugs. They can call 911 if you become unresponsive.
• When using drugs with a friend, do not use at the same time.
• When switching substances or if you have not used in a while, start with a lower dose.
• Carry a naloxone kit. Call 811 for information on where to get a kit.
• Call 911 if you suspect an overdose.
• Avoid mixing drugs, including prescribed, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs.
• Avoid drinking alcohol while using other drugs.

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