Kane­sa­take drug queen off to prison

PLEADS GUILTY TO MAR­I­JUANA DEAL­ING Sharon Si­mon ar­rested in Project Cleopa­tra, al­leged to be ring­leader of smug­gling plot

Montreal Gazette - - Montreal|quebec - PAUL CHERRY GAZETTE CRIME RE­PORTER

Judg­ing by the way she blew good­bye kisses to­ward her daugh­ters, one could have mis­taken Sharon Si­mon for some­one about to head off to a Caribbean vacation in­stead of a fed­eral pen­i­ten­tiary.

The Kane­sa­take wo­man had just pleaded guilty in Que­bec Court yes­ter­day to par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ac­tiv­i­ties of a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion and weapons charges laid af­ter Project Cleopa­tra, a joint po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into mar­i­juana traf­fick­ing.

In ex­change for her guilty pleas, Si­mon, 47, ben­e­fits from a joint rec­om­men­da­tion on sen­tenc­ing that leaves her 50 months to serve on a to­tal sen­tence of six years and nine months.

Rather than ap­pear­ing som­bre in the pris­oner’s dock, Si­mon smiled broadly, turned to­ward her two adult daugh­ters in the front row of the Laval court­room and blew them a cou­ple of en­er­getic kisses.

Si­mon, who owns a lux­ury home in Kane­sa­take, had been be­hind bars since she and 35 other peo­ple were ar­rested in June 2006 as part of a year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Abo­rig­i­nal Com­bined Forces Spe­cial En­force- ment Unit, whose part­ners in­cluded the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec and the First Na­tions Chiefs of Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion.

Si­mon, the main fo­cus of the probe, was al­leged to have been the ring­leader of a group that shipped large quan­ti­ties of Que­bec-grown mar­i­juana to the United States. There, cus­tomers were will­ing to pay much more than the $1,600 per pound pot gen­er­ally com­mands from lo­cal buy­ers.

Si­mon pleaded guilty to pos­sess­ing mar­i­juana, traf­fick­ing in it and be­ing in pos­ses­sion of goods ob­tained through her crim­i­nal acts.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Sylvie Ko­vace­vich sum­ma­rized the case against Si­mon for Judge Paul Che­va­lier. She said Si­mon helped her daugh­ter An­nie Ar­bic, 22, laun­der about $4 mil­lion be­tween Jan­uary and June 2006 by us­ing a con­tact Si­mon had at a money ex­change counter in Mon­treal.

Ar­bic, who is still await­ing trial, is al­leged to have co­or­di­nated large ship­ments of mar­i­juana to the U.S. to cus­tomers who paid her and her boyfriend in U.S. dol­lars. For us­ing her con­tact, Si­mon gen­er­ally charged her daugh­ter a one per cent com­mis­sion. Through her con­tacts in the un­der­world, Si­mon was also able to find peo­ple who could grow mar­i­juana to sup­ply her daugh­ter’s vast net­work, the pros­e­cu­tor said.

Si­mon also helped Serge Bour­ret, 59, laun­der $2 mil­lion in drug money dur­ing the same pe­riod. Bour­ret pleaded guilty this year and was sen­tenced to a three-year prison term.

In ex­plain­ing the weapons charge to the judge, Ko­vace­vich said in­ves­ti­ga­tors lis­ten­ing to wire­taps picked up con­ver­sa­tions be­tween Si­mon and her then boyfriend, Ser­gio Pic­cirelli, who is re­puted to have ties to a Mafia fam­ily based in Granby. He was look­ing for a semi-au­to­matic weapon for pro­tec­tion.

Pic­cirelli, who also is await­ing trial, was in­volved in deals with the Hells An­gels and the Mafia and wanted some pro­tec­tion, Ko­vace­vich said. Si­mon bought the weapon soon af­ter through a third party. On Feb. 17, 2006, she and an­other man were pulled over by po­lice while rid­ing in a car. An AK-47 as­sault ri­fle was found inside.

When Che­va­lier asked Si­mon if the facts of her case were sum­ma­rized ac­cu­rately, she rolled her eyes.

“I wouldn’t say it was ac­cu­rate but I want to leave it as is,” Si­mon said.

“We’re not go­ing to have a trial here, so I’ll just leave things as they are.”

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