December 16, 2019

Winnipeg
-15° C, Light snow

Full Forecast

'Significant blow to organized crime in Manitoba'

Raids net 10 arrests, millions in seized goods, drugs: police

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/11/2018 (409 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Police seized high-end vehicles, illegal drugs and weapons worth an estimated $2.7 million, and arrested 10 people earlier this month in the takedown of an alleged network that spanned the four western provinces and a 10-month investigation.

Adding it up

An estimated $2.7 million in vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized during Project Riverbank.  Here's what police seized, province by province.

An estimated $2.7 million in vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized during Project Riverbank.  Here's what police seized, province by province. All values are approximate.

Manitoba

Cash: $121,000

Firearms: Walther P99 nine-mm semi-automatic handgun and ammunition

Drugs:

• three kilograms methamphetamine, $105,000
• 11 kg cocaine, $660,000
• two kg ketamine, $14,000
• six ounces heroin $42,000
• two kg marijuana, $9,000
• 21 kg of cutting agent, $14,700
• 20 oxycodone pills, $800

Vehicles:

• 2019 Volvo tractor, $266,000
• 2018 Ford F-450, $91,000
• 2013 construction trailer, $7,500
• 2002 Subaru, $3,500
• 2010 Honda Civic, $4,500
• 2011 BMW 328xi, $10,000
• 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, $16,000
• 2013 Nissan Sentra, $6,000

British Columbia

Cash: $250,000

Vehicles:

• 2018 Dodge Ram 3500, $90,000
• 2018 Dodge Durango, $50,000
• 2017 Porsche 911, $160,000
• 2018 BMW M4, $78,000
• 2016 McLaren 650s, $400,000
• 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, $25,000
• 2016 Open Range travel trailer, $75,000
• Sting Ray boat, $50,000
• 2014 Karavan boat trailer, $3,000
• 2016 Mercedes CLA250, $30,000
• 2004 Suzuki GSX-R motorcycle, $5,000

Alberta s

Cash: $2,000

Vehicles: 2017 Jeep Cherokee, $13,000

Drugs:

• two oz cocaine, $4,000
• 1.8 kg marijuana, $8,000

Saskatchewan

Cash: $5,740

Vehicles:

• 2005 Chevrolet Corvette, $20,000
• 1999 Ford F-150, $5,000

Drugs:

• one kg methamphetamine, $35,000
• 333 grams psilocybin, $5,000
• 22 g cocaine, $1,760

Approximate total value of all seizures: $2.7 million

"Project Riverbank" involved 300 officers from the RCMP and police services in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg — including 158 Winnipeg Police Service members and 35 RCMP officers from Manitoba.

"Today, we have made a significant blow to organized crime in Manitoba and across Canada. There's no doubt that these arrests and seizures will have a substantial impact on the flow of drugs into the province and throughout the country," assistant commissioner Scott Kolody, the commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP, said at a news conference Thursday at a Manitoba Public Insurance compound.

"We know all too well that where there are drugs, there is also violence. Members of organized crime and their associates have a callous disregard for the safety of others. These networks regularly place the public at risk and their actions greatly affect every Canadian's right to safety and security...

Winnipeg Chief of Police Danny Smyth at the MPI depot on Plessis Rd Thursday morning during an announcement that a major “Inter-Provincial Illicit Drug Network” was dismantled during Project Riverbank.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Chief of Police Danny Smyth at the MPI depot on Plessis Rd Thursday morning during an announcement that a major “Inter-Provincial Illicit Drug Network” was dismantled during Project Riverbank.

"Be assured that by putting these organized crime networks out of business, law enforcement is making a difference — and we will continue our work to stop these criminal organizations from operating."

The investigation ended Oct. 18, when 16 search warrants were simultaneously executed — eight in Winnipeg, four in Regina, one in Edmonton, and at two residences and one property in B.C.'s lower mainland.

"This investigation demonstrations the ability of police from different jurisdictions to come together in partnership to detect and to disrupt criminal organizations," WPS Chief Danny Smyth said.

"This particular investigation oriented here in Winnipeg, and the scope of it started to spread across Western Canada. The supply chain looks like it moved west to east."

Winnipeg police Inspector Max Waddell inspects some of the contraband seized in the raid.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg police Inspector Max Waddell inspects some of the contraband seized in the raid.

WPS Insp. Max Waddell said the supply chain allegedly involved moving the drugs in trailers pulled by a semi-tractor truck seized in Winnipeg.

"The transport truck was moving the illicit drugs from British Columbia, making stops in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with its destination being here in Manitoba, and then it was being distributed," Waddell said.

A $400,000 McLaren 650S luxury sports car, a $160,000 Porsche 911 in B.C., and a 2019 semi in Manitoba worth $266,000 were among the total of $1.4 million in vehicles seized.

Seizures from Manitoba were displayed at Thursday's news conference, including a three-kilogram package of methamphetamine, 11 kg of cocaine, two kg of ketamine, six ounces of heroin, 1.8 kg of marijuana, 21 kg of cutting agent, and 20 oxycodone pills. The total street value of the drugs seized in Manitoba was estimated at $845,500.

"The seizure of methamphetamine (in Manitoba) during Project Riverbank totalled three kilograms. If you extrapolate three kilograms to how it would be distributed on the street, that would potentially equal to 30,000 'hits,'" Waddell said, noting each gram of meth is usually broken into 10 smaller quantities (called points) to be sold.

Photo of some of the vehicles on display at the MPI depot that were seized during Project Riverbank.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Photo of some of the vehicles on display at the MPI depot that were seized during Project Riverbank.

"Therefore, 30,000 citizens of Winnipeg could have been exposed to this highly addictive drug. That's why it's very significant that it be removed from the streets of Winnipeg."

A nine-mm semi-automatic handgun, ammunition and a bullet-proof vest were also displayed Thursday. Parked along the MPI compound's back wall was the semi, a 2018 Ford F-450 and a 2011 BMW 328xi, among eight vehicles seized in Manitoba.

Waddell said Project Riverbank was "a complex investigation" that involved WPS multiple units, including the tactical support team, street crime, community support, crime analysis, K-9, surveillance and technical crime.

The 10 people arrested — four women, six men — are charged with a total of 156 offences, including drug trafficking, drug possession, conspiracy to traffic, firearms-related offences, proceeds of crime, and extortion.

Six of the 10 are from Winnipeg: Mason Joaquin Burg, 24; Daniel Jason Finkbeiner, 30; Lisa Dawn Hallson, 32; Amanda Marie Borges, 27; Darci Ann Geiger, 33; and William Junior Fuller, 22.

The others are: Mohammad Shakil Khan, 39, of Vancouver; Allan Ronald Rodney, 70, of Surrey, B.C.; Shontal Vaupotic, 32, of Surrey; and Herbert Mejia-Orellana-Delgado, 29, of Edmonton.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

 

Winnipeg police Inspector Max Waddell shows Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Cliff Cullen Minister of Justice and Attorney General some of the seized items Thursday.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg police Inspector Max Waddell shows Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Cliff Cullen Minister of Justice and Attorney General some of the seized items Thursday.

The Winnipeg Free Press is not accepting comments on this story.

Why aren't comments accepted on this story? See our Commenting Terms and Conditions.