Over $2 million of cocaine seized at Toronto airport
Canadian border officials have announced the seizure of over 20 kilograms of what appears to be cocaine at Toronto’s Pearson Airport early January.
Officers discovered a man carrying a duffel bag with 15 brick-shaped objects returning from a flight in St. Marteen.
An Ontario couple has been arrested and charged with laundering money in connection with the Canada Revenue Agency telephone scam. The two, husband and wife, were also involved in other multinational schemes. Their arrests are the result of Project Octavia, a longstanding investigation into the CRA tax telephone scam according to CTV News.
RCMP investigators arrested a 37-year-old man and 36-year-old woman on Wednesday in Brampton, Ont. They believe that there is also a 26-year-old foreign national involved, currently living in India whom they have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for.
The RCMP said the CRA scam has been going on since 2014. Callers based out of India would call Canadians posing as federal agents and intimidate their victims into paying non-existent outstanding taxes or fines.
“This has led to Canadians becoming wary or suspicious even when CRA is attempting legitimate contact,” RCMP said.
There has been a total of more than $16.8 million in victim losses reported since 2014 in the CRA scam alone. That number jumps up to over $30 million with the inclusion of other scams such as tech support and bank investor scams according to the RCMP.
RCMP Insp. Jim Ogden spoke at a press conference in Milton, Ontario on Friday saying, “We have disrupted the necessary flow of money from Canada to India, which will have a big impact on the operation and the bottom line of the scammers,”
The pair recently arrested in Brampton were likely “money mules” purported Ogden, claiming that the couple laundered the proceeds of these telemarketing scams in Canada and sending it elsewhere.
Project Octavia has led to the takedown of 39 illegal call centres in India as well as arrests in Canada. A public awareness and prevention campaign has helped make Canadians more aware of the scam and RCMP’s efforts have helped to reduce the number of successful scam calls since 2018.
The proof is in the numbers as the total amount of victim losses in 2018 was $6.4 million and within a year that number was down to $1.4 million.
RCMP continue to go after money mule networks in Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and RCMP criminal analysts, Canada Border Services Agency, the CRA, provincial police and the RCMP liaison officer in India. Authorities in the U.S. and India continue to aid investigations as well.
Gurinderpreet Dhaliwal, 37, and Inderpreet Dhaliwal, 36, from Brampton have both been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering of the proceeds of crime, and one count of property obtained by crime.
“We remain steadfast in our pursuit,” Ogden said.
A Canadian photojournalist has again been threatened with arrest twice in two days by the RCMP and CP police after attempting to cover the anti-pipeline #ShutDownCanada protests.
On Friday, photojournalist Jesse Winter was threatened for a second time in two days the RCMP and the CP police for doing his job as a journalist. In the video, Winter can be heard criticizing the police for not allowing him to document the protests.
“Are you aware of the amount of criticism the RCMP and the CP police have face this week for exactly this,” asked Winter. The police officer refused to comment on the matter, instead of refusing to allow the photographer access to the site.
Just one day earlier, Winter said on Twitter that a Canadian Pacific police officer threatened to arrest him for documenting the #ShutDownCanada protests that have crippled parts of the country’s infrastructure.
Protests across Canada have sprung up over the last two weeks in reaction to the construction of a pipeline in Northern British Columbia. In Ontario, protestors blocked the tracks at Belleville, stopping all train travel between Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Since the protest began last Thursday, Via Rail has had to cancel 157 trips, leaving at least 24,500 passengers stranded. All freight trains carrying goods across the country are halted as well.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he would not intervene in any of the #ShutDownCanada protests. Conservative leaders, on the other hand, were outraged by Trudeau’s lack of leadership in dealing with the shutting down of major highways and railways.
In Vancouver Island, protesters erected barricades to stop cars from accessing public highways. In Metro Vancouver, 57 demonstrators were arrested after judges granted an injunction to remove a blockade that had stopped workers from entering the Port of Vancouver.
Likewise, in Toronto, protestors decided to occupy the office of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations—chanting slogans like, “Canada is an illegitimate, violent, colonialist state.”
Police in Regina are facing a litany of overdoses since recently. They were called out to 14 overdoses over this past weekend and have had an additional five cases since Monday afternoon, according to CTV News.
Regina Police services have confirmed that the overdoses are from fentanyl. Officers had to administer Naloxone to three people over the weekend and fortunately, so far, there have been no fatalities.
“Remember that purchasing drugs from a dealer and not the pharmacy can result in unknown quality control, unknown additives to the purchase, and more dangerous risks,” Regina police said in a news release.
Fentanyl is an increasing problem within Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis.
RCMP raided an anti-pipeline camp in northern B.C. early Thursday morning. At least four people were arrested according to the protestors.
The land is traditional Wet’suwet’en territory and the protestors established the camp in order to protest the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
CBC reports: “Protesters said more than a dozen RCMP officers moved in past the police checkpoint on Morice Forest Service Road in the pitch dark well before dawn on Thursday.”
B.C., Gidimt’en clan spokesperson Molly Wickham said, “They’re clearing out 39-kilometre camp, which is the supply camp. We have word they started tearing down the tents … [We’re] frustrated and worried about people.”
A Facebook page associated with the camp left the following message: “Again—we are not protestors CBC News… we are Wet’suwet’en people, and guests of Wet’suwet’en, defending our land.”
The RCMP released a statement about enforcement of the Coastal GasLink court-ordered injunction that read: “The RCMP’s planning for potential enforcement has been ongoing to ensure the right resources were present, briefed, and trained to support a measured and scalable approach in keeping everyone safe. Given the remoteness of the area and the difficulty of predicting how many resources we will need to respond to any situation, it is necessary to have the right resources available and then scale them back based on a continuous assessment.”
Toronto-based activist group @TOforFuture has called on protestors to mobilize and demonstrate outside of Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland’s offices as a response to the raid.
This is a developing story and will be updated.