PROJECT GOLD DUST – Inter-Provincial Illicit Drug Network Dismantled

Winnipeg, Manitoba – In May 2020, the Winnipeg Police Service Organized Crime Unit (OCU) commenced an investigation into high level, inter-provincial cocaine trafficking cell dubbed “Project Gold Dust.” OCU was assisted by the Crime Analysis Unit, Guns and Gangs Unit, Drug Enforcement Unit, Affiant Unit, Tactical Support Team, Uniform Operations, Community Support, Canine, Brandon Police Service Organized Crime Unit, Vancouver Police Department and D Division RCMP.

Through the investigation, police learned multiple members of a local group of drug traffickers self-declared their drug network name as “The Company.” The investigation grew into a Joint Forces Operation with the E Division RCMP – Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s assistance. This drug network was observed to import multi-kilogram level quantities of cocaine into Winnipeg, then distribute the cocaine through a sophisticated operating network of high/mid-level operators and local couriers. This drug network’s primary criminal activities involved transporting cocaine into Winnipeg from British Columbia for further distribution and the subsequent collection of large sums of cash proceeds returned to British Columbia as payment for the cocaine.

(WPS) PROJECT GOLD DUST – Inter-Provincial Illicit Drug Network Dismantled
(WPS) PROJECT GOLD DUST – Inter-Provincial Illicit Drug Network Dismantled

On February 10, 2021, 144 Police Members worked collectively together to execute the following search warrants;

13 Search Warrants in Winnipeg

9 Vehicle Search Warrants in Winnipeg

1 Search Warrant in Surrey, BC

1 Search Warrant in Vancouver, BC

2 Vehicle search Warrants in Vancouver, BC

ARRESTED / CHARGES:

Thuy Bich LY, 41 years of Winnipeg

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Ecstasy

Production of a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000 x 2

Rogelio Saavedra DELACRUZ, 32 years of Winnipeg

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000 x 2

Sherwin DIMAAPI, 33 years of Winnipeg

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime Over $5000 x 2

Jasmine Rose ESPIRITU, 24 years of Winnipeg

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000

Joshua David ESPIRITU, 25 years of Winnipeg

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime Over $5000

Wilfred GEREIN, 63 years of Surrey, BC

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine x 2

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000 x 2

Jamie GRAIDA-LUMARQUE, 26 years of Winnipeg

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Ecstasy

Unlawful Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Selling, contrary to section 10(2) of the Cannabis Act

Johnny LAM, 40 years of Vancouver, BC

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000

Louie LORENZO, 26 years of Winnipeg

Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime Over $5000

Khanh NGUYEN, 39 years of Winnipeg

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Trafficking Cocaine

Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence – Possess Proceeds Obtained by Crime

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine x 2

Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Ecstasy

Production of a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000 x 3

Steven Minh TRAN, 35 years of Winnipeg

Possess Proceeds of Crime Over $5000 x 2

Unlawful Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Selling, contrary to section 10(2) of the Cannabis Act

Two other adult males aged 34 years and 23 years of Winnipeg were arrested but not charged at this time.

One adult female, 33, of Winnipeg, was arrested but not charged at this time.

This 10-month long investigation is ongoing, and further arrests and charges are pending.

EXHIBITS SEIZED

Winnipeg, MB

17 Kilograms of Cocaine – Wholesale Value $1.4 Million (Street Value $1.7 Million)

3 Ounces of Ecstasy – Street Value of $3000

21 lbs Cannabis – Street Value of $63,000

$2,000,000 Cash

$107,000 Bit-Coin

$270,000 – Other Proceeds of Crime (Rolex watches/jewelry with appraisal certificates)

110 kilograms of cutting agent – Street Value $22,000

Numerous digital scales

Vacuum sealing equipment

Drug packaging material

Drug production equipment and respirators

41 Cell Phones

21 Computers

4 Firearms:

Walther P99 9mm Semi-Automatic Handgun

Sig Sauer P226R Legion Handgun

Daniel Defense M4 Carbine Automatic Rifle

Savage Model 110 .308 Caliber Rifle

Various ammunition and firearm components

Vehicles:

2019 Honda Pilot valued at $50,000

2018 Jeep Wrangler valued at $45,000

2016 Honda Accord valued at $25,000

2003 Acura RSX valued at $4000

2016 Honda Civic valued at $21,000

2013 Honda Civic valued at $13,000

2004 Acura TSX valued at $5000

2007 Cadillac Escalade valued at $11,000

2015 Honda CRV valued at $21,000

2010 Toyota Tundra valued at $16,000

2007 Honda CRV valued at $9,000

2012 Kia Sorrento valued at $10,000

Total value of vehicles seized in Manitoba – $230,000

Properties/Assets – Filed Statements of Claim

3 Residential Properties valued at $1,046,000

2 Residential Duplex Properties valued at $798,000

1 Multi Unit Condominium Property valued at $1,700,000

3 Vacant plots of Commercial Property valued at $652,000

1 Commercial property valued at $448,000

Total Residential/Commercial Properties seized in Manitoba – $4,644,000

British Columbia

$700,000 Cash

23 grams cocaine valued at $2300

Vehicles:

2017 Lexus NX200T valued at $39,000

2011 Toyota Tundra valued at $20,000

2014 Acura MDX valued at $24,000

2007 Acura MDX valued at $7500

Total value of vehicles seized in BC – $90,500

2 Residential properties valued at $3,539,000

The combined value of cash, proceeds of crime and assets totals $11,580,500

This complex investigation demonstrates the ability of the Winnipeg Police Service Organized Crime Division to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to detect, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations.

The Winnipeg Police Service would like to thank and acknowledge the support of the E Divison RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Unit for their assistance in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.

The impact of this investigation will ensure the reduction of acts of violence, property crime and most importantly, the reduction of overdose deaths in the community we serve.

Winnipeg Police Service



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