The RCMP announced it has cracked down on an international money-laundering scheme organized by a criminal groups from both Montreal and Toronto.
The raid mobilized more than 300 Quebec and Ontario police officers and partners.
Police arrested 17 people in the Monday morning raids between the two cities, according to an RCMP news release, seizing more than $32.8 million in assets.
The investigation was led by the Integrated Proceeds of Crime unit, in cooperation with RCMP investigators from Ontario and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The investigation was conducted from 2016 to 2018 following information received from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
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The criminal network moved money that was collected in Montreal through various individuals and currency exchange offices in Toronto. The criminals used an informal value transfer system (IVTS) that had connections in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the United States and China.
The funds were then returned to drug-exporting countries, such as Colombia and Mexico, according to the RCMP.
The procedure laundered a significant amount of money originating from illegal activities, including drug trafficking.
The scheme was identified and dismantled by the RCMP and joint forces from both provinces.
Police seized significant quantities of drugs including cannabis, cocaine, hashish and methamphetamine — all with a combined market value of close to $2.2 million.
Bank accounts and money in Canadian and foreign currencies were also seized, a value of $8.7 million.
The CRA also proceeded with the restraint of six properties worth an estimated value of $15 million. To date, the estimated value of the assets that were seized or restrained is more than $32.8 million.
Of the arrested suspects, 10 were in Quebec and seven were in Ontario. The suspect’s ages range from 26 to 71 and face charges that include conspiracy, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking in property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime.
Three suspects are still being sought by police:
- Francisco Javier Jimenez Guerrero, 35, address unknown.
- Victor Vargotskii, 56, of Montreal.
- Frederick Rayman, 71, of Unionville, Ont.
The names of those arrested are:
- Mohamad Jaber, 51 years old, 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, Montrea
- Victor Vargotskii, 56 years old, Montreal – WANTED
- Mario Maratta 64, years old, Sainte-Sophie
- Sorin Ehrlich, 62 years old, Montreal
- Gary Maybee, 57 years old, Austin
- Francisco Javier Jimenez Guerrero, 35 years old, address unknown – WANTED
- Nader Gramian-Nik, 56 years old, Vaughan
- Tania Geramian-Nik, 28 years old, Vaughan
- Frederick Rayman, 71 years old, Unionville – WANTED
- 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
Anyone with information about the illegal activities or concerning the whereabouts of the wanted individuals is urged to contact the RCMP at 514-939-8300 / 1-800-771-5401 or your local police department.