York Regional Police bust a 20,000 square foot mansion, seized more than $1 million in cash, and 11 firearms at an illegal casino and spa in Markham.
Investigations surrounding illegal gaming dens began back in May 2020 and was named “Project Endgame” after police received information identifying illegal casinos across Markham.
Two months later, on July 3, the first search warrant was executed at a commercial unit at 3276 Midland Avenue in Scarborough which was allegedly being run as an illegal gaming house, according to Police. More than $20,000 was seized, including gaming tables, video slot machines, and more. Five people were arrested at the scene.
Days later, the YRP Emergency Response Unit, along with the Ontario Provincial Police and Durham Regional Police tactical teams, executed another search warrant on September 23 at 5 Decourcy Court. The home was allegedly being operated as a “high-end illegal casino.”
Thirty-two people were arrested at the gaming house, along with 11 firearms with ammunition, more than $1 million in cash, gaming machines and tables, and more than $1.5 million in alcohol.
As for the mansion, police also restrained the home which is worth approximately $9 million dollars.
The third and final search warrant was executed on July 30, 2020, at a residence on Woodland Acres in Vaughan. More than $70,000 in cash was seized, including “various documentary evidence relevant to the illegal gaming operations,” said police. Three people were arrested.
“While the total value of these seizures is significant, this is only the start of our efforts to dismantle organized crime groups who are operating illegal gaming operations in York Region,” said Chief Jim MacSween.
“The money moving through these underground casinos leads to huge profits for criminals that fund other ventures such as prostitution and drug trafficking. This illegal high-stakes gambling also leads to gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion and other serious violent offences within our community.”
Police managed to arrest 45 people in total and 33 of them have been charged with more than 70 criminal offences. The investigation is on going and police have issued the list of people charged and what they face.
“We will continue to target organized crime in York Region and use every tool at our disposal, including forensic accounting, to ensure these criminals are held accountable,” said MacSween.
The YRP is asking anyone with information to contact the York Regional Police Guns, Gangs and Drug Enforcement Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7817, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips, leave an anonymous tip online at www.1800222tips.com