Al­leged mob­sters charged in sweep­ing fen­tanyl raids

Po­lice say they in­fil­trated high lev­els of or­ga­nized crime in ar­rests across Canada, U.S.

Toronto Star - - NEWS - PETER ED­WARDS STAFF RE­PORTER

Nine al­leged GTA or­ga­nized crime mem­bers have been charged in a sweep­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fen­tanyl trade after raids early Thurs­day morn­ing across south­west­ern On­tario and New York, the RCMP said.

The sus­pects face charges for 75 of­fences in­clud­ing traf­fick­ing fen­tanyl, car­fen­tanil, heroin, co­caine and metham­phetamine, as well as weapons and con­tra­band tobacco traf­fick­ing and book­mak­ing.

The street de­mand for opi­ates has pulled or­ga­nized crim­i­nals deeper into this trade, po­lice said. Un­der­cover of­fi­cers al­legedly bought six kilo­grams of fen­tanyl and car­fen­tanil in six trans­ac­tions in the op­er­a­tion.

“New trends will al­ways con­tinue to sur­face as long as there is money to be made,” RCMP Chief Supt. Michael LeSage said at a news con­fer­ence in Mil­ton.

The il­le­gal fen­tanyl sup­ply in the GTA will be af­fected by the ar­rests, RCMP Supt. Chris Leather said.

Two of the ac­cused are grand­sons of the late Gi­a­como Lup­pino of Hamil­ton, who was con­sid­ered by po­lice to be a found­ing mem­ber of the Crim­ine, a gov­ern­ing body for crim­i­nals in the ’Ndrangheta crime group and a long-stand­ing as­so­ciate of the Buf­falo mob.

Domenico Paolo Vi­oli, 51, was charged with a va­ri­ety of drug traf­fick­ing of­fences, while a Canadaw­ide war­rant for sim­i­lar crimes was is­sued against his brother, Giuseppe (Joe) Vi­oli. Both are from Hamil­ton.

Po­lice al­leged the Vi­oli brothers are well-es­tab­lished with “an in­ter­na­tional reach.”

The op­er­a­tion be­gan when of­fi­cers found a mob­ster who turned on his old as­so­ciates, po­lice said. “We had an op­por­tu­nity to in­fil­trate some higher-level tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime mem­bers,” Leather said.

He added that po­lice had a source “who was re­spected by tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime in both coun­tries (Canada and U.S.).”

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed dawn raids Thurs­day morn­ing in Hamil­ton, York Re­gion, Ni­a­gara, In­n­is­fil, Van­cou­ver and Mon­treal.

Po­lice forces in­volved in­cluded the RCMP, On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice (OPP), and Toronto, Hamil­ton, Peel and York po­lice. The op­er­a­tion also part­nered with the OPP-led Con­tra­band Tobacco En­force­ment Team, as more than three mil­lion con­tra­band cig­a­rettes were seized.

The FBI in New York City con­ducted what the RCMP called “a par­al­lel, but sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into La Cosa Nos­tra in that city, fo­cus­ing on mem­bers of the Bonanno and Gam­bino fam­i­lies.” Sev­eral “mem­bers and as­so­ciates” of those crime fam­i­lies were charged Thurs­day with co­caine traf­fick­ing, loan shark­ing, ex­tor­tion and money laun­der­ing.

Also as­sist­ing in the op­er­a­tion were Home­land Se­cu­rity from the U.S., the Colom­bian Na­tional Po­lice and Ital­ian po­lice de­part­ments as well as RCMP li­ai­son of­fi­cers in Colom­bia, Mex­ico, Italy and the Nether­lands.

A Toronto po­lice em­ployee, Erin Maranan, was also ac­cused of leak­ing in­for­ma­tion and had been pre­vi­ously charged with 20 counts of breach of trust for data­base queries.

“This in­ves­ti­ga­tion . . . demon­strated or­ga­nized crime’s abil­ity to cor­rupt peo­ple in po­si­tions of pub­lic trust to fur­ther their crim­i­nal en­ter­prise,” the RCMP said in a pre­pared state­ment. Charged on Thurs­day morn­ing were: Domenico Paolo Vi­oli, Hamil­ton; Dim­i­tar Dim­itrov, Stoney Creek; Adri­ano Valentino Scol­ieri, Richmond Hill; Bernardo Luke Ro­tolo, Wood­bridge; Tran Giang Tang, Kam Tim Tong, both of Markham; Ni­cholas Valen­tine, Vaughan; An­thony James Ar­royo, Water­loo; James Lin­coln Jablon­ski, Mis­sis­sauga.

A Canada-wide war­rant has been is­sued for Giuseppe Vi­oli; Mas­simi-gliano Carfagna, Burling­ton; Yin Yun Leong, Markham; Wit­ton Luu, Toronto and Wo­j­ciech Greze­siowski, In­n­is­fill. With files from Ainslie Cruick­shank

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