Winnipeg police have capped off a nearly two-year investigation into organized crime with a series of arrests and seizures.
Details of "Project Sideshow" were released at a news conference Thursday morning. Police say they began targeting "an organized crime group that operates across Canada" in the spring of 2012, culminating in 19 search warrants being executed last week in Manitoba and British Columbia.
Investigators used "court authorized techniques to intercept communications between drug traffickers," according to a news release. Police also got legal permission to conduct secretive searches of properties where they "observed, photographed and sampled their drugs."
In total, police say they documented 92 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $5 million, three-and-a-half kilograms of methamphetamine with a street value of $192,000, one kilogram of ecstasy with a street value of $20,000 and more than $4.3 million in cash believed to be from proceeds of drug sales.
"The actual amounts of drugs and cash travelling back and forth are believed to far exceed the amounts observed," said police.
Police also say they collected evidence of money laundering "in which the proceeds from the sale of illicit drugs were laundered through the use of privately owned ATM machines located within Winnipeg businesses."
During last week’s raids, police seized the following:
- $301,800.00 Canadian currency
- Over 5 kilograms of cocaine
- 1.5 kilograms of MDMA (ecstasy)
- 17 ounces of ketamine
- 3 pounds of cannabis marijhuana
- Over 8 kilograms cutting agent
- Drug trafficking paraphernalia (i.e. packaging materials, scales, cell phones, a vacuum sealer and a money counter)
- 9 mm semi-automatic handgun
- Sawed off 12-gauge shotgun (prohibited)
- Olympic arms assault rifle
- Ammunition and magazines
- Ballistic vest
- 9 vehicles including one Motorcycle
- 6 ATM machines (from 4 locations)
The following people are now facing a slew of drug and weapons-related charges:
- Ronald Baldovi, 35, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
- Carol Villanueva Banayos, 32, Winnipeg, MB
- Ronald George Morrison, 67, Winnipeg, MB
- Rayan Dizon, 35, Winnipeg, MB
- Oliver Villanueva Banayos, 36, Winnipeg, MB
- Philip Manh Nguyen, 28, Winnipeg, MB
- Lindsey Lafrenais, 32, Winnipeg, MB
- Baljinder Singh, 33, Winnipeg, MB
- Narinder Singh, 39, Winnipeg, MB
- Chandeep Singh Dhaliwal, 28, Howden, MB
- Timothy Fuller, 46, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Cara Melissa Smith, 33, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Vanessa Gillies, 27, Toronto, ON/Winnipeg, MB
- Ryan Michael Dimaala, 32, Winnipeg, MB