Ontario authorities have unveiled a massive money-laundering scheme involving marijuana growers and Niagara casinos. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
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Police in Ontario have uncovered a money laundering scheme operating through Niagara casinos and other parts of the province. On Tuesday, the RCMP Hamilton-Niagara branch revealed that five individuals face a total of 29 charges as a result of a long-running investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering. The individuals mentioned are Jian Hua Tao, En Quan Chen, Bu Hai Chen, Lin Li, and Zhou Wen Chang.
24.3 million Canadian dollars ($18.6 million) worth of cannabis seized
Authorities seized nearly C$24.3 million ($18.6 million) of cannabis and more than C$1 million ($76,750) in cash. Police recently executed search warrants for six major marijuana-growing projects and five residences. No details were provided regarding the location of the growing operations or residences.
The origins of the investigation date back to 2017 after the RCMP was informed of a possible money laundering scheme in nearby casinos. According to the authorities, illegal marijuana growers have been able to launder more than 3 million Canadian dollars (2.3 million US dollars).
Disruption of the illegal drug trade and confiscation of money laundering proceeds
The Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC) and the Ontario Provincial Police assisted the RCMP in the investigation. talk about Successful detection of drug trafficking and money laundering schemeThe Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Jeff Cooper, said it was “a great example of how coordinated enforcement efforts can contribute to safer communities by disrupting the illicit drug trade and seizing money laundering proceeds.”
Problem with other casinos
The Ontario Alcohol and Gambling Commission (AGCO) will begin reviewing the effectiveness of existing anti-money laundering controls in the province’s casinos. Money laundering is something that casinos all over the world should try to deal with; Money launderers are constantly adjusting their approach and becoming more innovative.
The major casinos in Niagara are Fallsview Casino Resort and Niagara Casino. Both establishments offer table games and slot machines.
Extensive money laundering schemes in British Columbia have recently been exposed. A report released last month showed how billions of dollars were laundered through the county’s casinos between 2008 and 2018. Gaming regulators, politicians and law enforcement were criticized in the report. A total of 101 recommendations were made with the aim of improving anti-money laundering standards in the region.