Police seize millions in assets as 17 people face money-laundering charges
The RCMP has filed charges against 17 people accused of taking part in a multi-million-dollar money-laundering scheme.
Police arrested 14 people on Monday in the Montreal and Toronto area, but three suspects are still at large.
According to the RCMP, members of the ring collected cash from criminal gangs in Montreal and then shifted it through currency exchanges in Toronto.
The group operated with two distinct networks, one in the Montreal area and the other based in suburban Toronto.
RCMP officer Francois-Olivier Myette said he believes the criminal ring laundered massive amounts of cash over the past few years.
"We saw over 100 clandestine transactions taking place with bags carrying between $250,000 and $500,000 in each bag. But there's also the accounting that we seized from the different targets and the different places that we searched and yes we believe that we are in the hundreds of millions of money that was laundered through the organization," said Myette.
The scheme also sent money to and from Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, China, Colombia, and Mexico.
Police said the gangs were involved in many black market activities, particularly drug trafficking.
During Monday's raids police seized six properties worth $15 million, along with Canadian and foreign cash and bank accounts worth an additional $8.7 million.
They also confiscated $2.2 million worth of cannabis, cocaine, hashish and methamphetamines.
Three suspects at large
Three people are still at large following Monday's raids.
They are Francisco Javier Jiminez Guerrero, 35, Victor Vargotskii, 56, and Frederick Rayman, 77.
Vargotskii is believed to be in Montreal while Rayman is from Unionville, Ontario. Guerrero's location is not known.
The people arrested Monday face charges including conspiracy, possession of drugs with intent to traffic, selling criminally-obtained goods, laundering proceeds of crime, and more.
Those arrested are:
- Mohamad Jaber, 51 years, Laval
- Kamel Ghaddar, 39 years old, Laval
- Eric Bradette, 36 years old, L'Assomption
- Sergio Violetta Galvez, 43 years old, Laval
- Alexei Parasenco, 26 years old, Montreal
- Mario Maratta 64, years old, Sainte-Sophie
- Sorin Ehrlich, 62 years old, Montreal
- Gary Maybee, 57 years old, Austin
- Nader Gramian-Nik, 56 years old, Vaughan
- Tania Geramian-Nik, 28 years old, Vaughan
- Sahar Shojaei, 45 years old, Thornhill
- Thomas Hsueh, 47 years old, Thornhill
- Mohammadreza Sheikhhassani, 55 years old, Richmond Hill
- Shabnam Mansouri, 38 years old, Maple