York Regional police in Ontario (just north of Toronto) say it’s the bigges anti-crime operation ever.
Called Operation Sindicato, the police made over a dozen arrests including several members of what they call the Figliomeni Crime Family.
The group is alleged to have collected money from video gaming machines in 11 cafes in the Vaughan area, from illegal backroom gambling in the cafes. Police say people would be goaded into gambling all their money away and then offer them loans at high interest rates on top of it and use violent intimidation to force payments.
A string of shootings and arson attacks in the area led police to begin the investigation.
The Canadian group is said to have connections with a known crime group in Calabria. Italian police carried out raids in which 12 people were arrested there in collaboration with the Canadian operation.
York police say much of the Canadian money was laundered through Ontario casinos to the tune of $30,000 or more a night and through the Italian connection.
Assets of about $35 million seized
As part of the operation, police raid dozens of homes and businesses and restrained 27 homes, and almost two dozen luxury vehicles, along with bags of cash, expensive watches and jewellery, and casino chips.
York Regional Police-video
Charges include tax evasion, some firearms offences, loan sharking, and participation in a criminal organisation amongst others.
- York Regional Police
- CBC: Jul 178/19: alleged crime family members arrested
- CTV: C Herhalt: Jul18/19: Largest mafia bust in Ontario
- TorStar: Grimaldi/Edwards: Jul 18/19: YRP announce largest organized crime takedown
- Canadian Press (via Radio 1010): Jul 18/19: 27 arrests, $35 million in assets seized
- Global News: Jul 18/19: Video news report