Vancouver: "International Drug Ring Beheaded"
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Gangland slayings in recent months have been tied to this criminal activity over control of Vancouver's lucrative drug trade
Kudos to all our men and women in Blue and Scarlet. Now, Let's hope Police Forces efforts will not be in vain, by not letting the BC Justice System and certain Judges who practise certain "Catch and Release" Philosophy preventing them from gaining a foothold in rendering any influence or decision on these criminals. God Help us if they are in Charge of Interpretting our Criminal Laws.
It is stated that up to 100 persons are expected to be arrested, resulting in a massive crackdown and effectively stopping drug traffic for the time being. The financial loss to the crime syndicate seems astronomical, but in the Big Picture, most likely a Drop in the Bucket when it comes to Drugs smuggling worldwide.
Illegal Drugs and other goods smuggled through our Ports are one of the reasons why Illegal activity flourishes in British Columbia. There has been talk of reinstating the Ports Police and criminal background checks of Dock workers, (Many who are suspected of being tied to organised crime) something Unions representing these workers have fought tooth and nail and Politicans backed down every time.
Perhaps the Federal Government should intervene and step up to the plate and immediately implement Ports Police and Criminal Background checks to protect our National Security and Public Safety, something Provincial Minister of Public Safety ex Dairy Farmer John Les has failed to do. One hopes the Public and the Media are vigilant and watch this closely to ensure everyione convicted serves serious time. Reporting on the names of Judges who practise Catch and Release would be a start.
'We've chopped the head off the snake'
Raids here and abroad net $168 million in drugs, 100 arrests. 5.5 tonnes of drugs. $6 million in real estate. $2.1 million in cash. $300,000 worth of vehicles. 17 prohibited weapons
Gerry Bellett and Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2007
Yong Long Ye was the mastermind of a drug syndicate that was as complex as it was astonishingly profitable, according to police.
Ye, who lived on Vancouver's Deering Island, just a stone's throw from the sprawling homes and riding stables in the tony Southlands area, received courier packages containing up to $250,000 two to three times a week, police said.
They said he received more than $4 million over a three-month period -- the profits from an operation that employed dozens of people.
Those were among the details released Wednesday when police announced the dismantling of what Sgt. Bill Whalen called the largest syndicate his unit has ever cracked.
"Ye heads a very big organization," said Whalen, who is with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit that led the investigation.
"We've chopped the head off the snake," said Vancouver police Insp. Dean Robinson.
Seventeen Lower Mainland men -- including Ye -- have been arrested and are facing a variety of drugs and weapons charges. More than 100 people around the world will be arrested and charged, said police.
They said the investigation led to the seizure of drugs with a wholesale value of $168 million.
According to police, the group imported thousands of kilograms of cocaine from the United States and supplied local methamphetamine and ecstasy labs with precursor chemicals. It then used specially built boxes and luggage with hidden compartments to distribute the drugs throughout the Pacific Rim.
Police trying to crack the case had to deal with gang members who spoke Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Punjabi and Hindi as well as English and used elaborate codes to avoid detection.
The criminal empire stretched across the United States, Canada, Asia and Australia and laundered profits through a complex system of bank accounts in Canada and Asia, police said. They said Ye, 40, owned houses and condos in the Vancouver area worth $6 million, which they intend to seize under proceeds of crime laws.
Ye's world began to unravel in October 2006 when U.S. drug enforcement officials learned that an organized crime group was importing large quantities of cocaine from Los Angeles into Canada.
The cocaine, packed in false-bottom boxes loaded into shipping containers, usually arrived by truck in Toronto, where a distribution network was set up.
That information was passed to B.C.'s Integrated Gang Task Force, which began to tug at the threads of Ye's empire.
The Vancouver-based smuggling operation had an impressive command and control system, said Insp. Pat Fogarty of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. Fogarty commanded the investigation by the unit, which is made up of officers seconded from the RCMP and municipal police forces.
The 14-month investigation, named Operation Paragon, took investigators from the "violence of the streets right up to the boardroom of the drug trade," he said.
Police said couriers carried large amounts of cash -- which police said was proceeds of crime -- from Toronto to Ye in Vancouver via commercial aircraft, with the usual shipment being $250,000.
"In a three-month period we estimate that between $4 million to $6 million in cash was transported," Fogarty said.
Police also uncovered a network transporting drug precursors into the Lower Mainland, where they were used in the manufacture of ecstasy and methamphetamines in clandestine laboratories.
Once the drugs were manufactured in Canada, they were distributed by couriers posing as tourists, who would take ecstasy and methamphetamines from Vancouver to Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand and Japan. The gang was also importing heroin into Canada from India and Pakistan.
Email to a friendEmail to a friendPrinter friendlyPrinter friendly
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Police displayed examples of suitcases used by the gang. They had been altered to allow drugs to be stowed between the outer case and inner liner.
Small boxes had also been built in a similar way. The boxes were filled with virtually worthless goods taken from thrift stores and sent overseas.
Police also seized 17 handguns and prohibited weapons, $2.1 million in cash, 5.5 tonnes of drugs, and $300,000 worth of vehicles.
Sgt. Shinder Kirk of the B.C. Integrated Gang Task Force said the gang was responsible for bringing drugs and weapons into the Lower Mainland and was "one of the root causes of crime and violence" in local communities.
Special Agent Matt Ryan of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was delighted with the results of the Canadian investigation.
"We couldn't have asked for better cooperation or a better result," Ryan said.
Standing behind stacks of drugs, weapons and cash that represented just a fraction of what police have recently seized, members of the various police agencies involved in the investigation attempted to put it into perspective.
"Gangsters and drug traffickers don't respect borders; neither do the police," said the Vancouver police's Dean Robinson. "We know this will have a large impact on the drug trade in the Lower Mainland."
Marianne Ryan, chief officer of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said the investigation was the largest and most complex of any drug investigation mounted in B.C.
She said the public should be aware that police forces are working quietly and effectively against organized crime "and criminals should take note also."
As for why the operation was based in Vancouver, Whalen said a busy seaport, airport and a land border with the U.S. make it logistically an ideal place to run a drug-smuggling operation.
The Canadian investigators worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to identify gang members in California and with the Australian federal police to seize the Canadian-made methamphetamine and ecstasy there.