Pubdate: Thu, 13 Dec 2007
Source: Asian Pacific Post, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Asian Pacific Post.


Canada's reputation in the global drug market got an unwanted boost
this month as police in three countries announced they had busted
international syndicates supplying and getting drugs from this country.

The drug train to and from Canada involved a Filipino street gang in
Chicago, suppliers in Toronto's Chinatown, Canadian couriers who
carried their stash to Australia after swallowing cocaine-packed
condoms, and a group said to be linked with an influential Sikh leader
in Punjab.

The drug networks transcended international borders and cultural

"From country farms to city high-rises, no community is immune from
illegal drugs and the dangers they bring. Illegal drugs, and those who
peddle them, do not recognize international, state, county or
municipal boundaries," said U.S. State's Attorney Joseph E. Birkett.

Birkett was commenting on the take down of an international drug ring
that used connections in Chicago's Chinatown to move massive amounts
of the designer drug Ecstasy from suppliers in Canada.

A Filipino faction of the Latin Kings distributed tens of thousands of
the Ecstasy pills and marijuana.

"The nationalities of the people involved represented citizens of the
United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Germany and the
Philippines," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney.

"The good news is that law enforcement is equally adept at looking
past cultural borders, gaps and different country names," he said when
announcing drug conspiracy charges against 21 people, including four
in Canada. One of the suspects is believed to be a fugitive in the

US authorities worked with the RCMP to seize more than 180,000 Ecstasy
pills, several thousand marijuana plants and more than US$500,000 in
drug proceeds.

The Chicago case stemmed from an investigation that began four years
ago in November 2003, when local police learned of a shipment of
Ecstasy pills and hydroponic marijuana that had arrived from Canada,
for distribution by two separate crews in Chicago with connections to
Chinatown and the Latin Kings street gang.

Surveillance in June 2004  at a Korean restaurant near the corner of
Lincoln and Bryn Mawr avenues in Chicago spotted two alleged suppliers
from Canada meeting with at least five Chicago area men to discuss the
continued trafficking of large quantities of marijuana and Ecstasy.

The investigating agencies believe that the Canadian drug suppliers
actually distributed several times that number of Ecstasy pills with a
retail value well into the millions of dollars, according to a
148-page affidavit supporting the complaint.

The over-consumption of Ecstasy, can lead to an overdose resulting in
various forms of injury, including the loss of consciousness, seizure,
stroke, brain damage or death.

The Canadian drug suppliers were identified as, Ju Wen Zhou, 33,of
Scarborough, Ontario, a Toronto suburb, Yvonne Law, 28, of Windsor,
Ontario, who allegedly transported cash and drugs across the border,
Su Jung Chen, 49, of Scarborough, Ontario, and Kenneth Luong, 31, also
of Scarborough,

In June 2006, Luong and six other individuals were arrested and
charged in Canada with various drug trafficking offenses.

During the execution of search warrants in Canada, the RCMP seized
approximately 150,000 Ecstasy pills, a hydroponic marijuana growing
operation involving approximately 3,000 marijuana plants,
approximately 100 pounds of processed and packaged marijuana,
approximately two kilograms of cocaine, approximately 200 grams of
heroin, approximately $100,000 in United States currency and
approximately $200,000 in Canadian currency.

In Punjab, Indian police have arrested a Canadian identified as
Harbhajan Singh and two others after seizing 500 kg of white powder
suspected to be heroin used in the manufacture of Ecstasy pills.

The consignment headed for Canada was estimated to be worth more than
one billion rupees (about C$25.5 million).

Police were informed of phone calls from Canada-based suspects who had
arranged for the shipment that originated in Hyderabad.

The seizure made in the industrial city if Ludhiana is being linked to
an influential leader of Punjab's Akali party - a religio-political
entity mainly concerned with the status of the Sikhs in Punjab.

The drugs were found in a truck belonging to the political leader, who
is close to the Punjab Chief Minister and senior police officials.

Police have been tight-lipped about the case, according to local media

Indo-Canadians have become major players in the Indian drug trade of
late with several non-resident Indians who live in B.C. and Ontario
being arrested.

The Asian Pacific Post reported  last February that a team of Mounties
is trying to unravel the inside workings of a massive criminal
syndicate operating drug pipelines from India to Canada and the United

Working with Indian police, the team is focusing its investigations
into the Western connections of three Indo-Canadians who were arrested
with huge amounts of heroin and party drugs destined for the North
American market.

The Canadian police officers interrogated three suspects at New
Delhi's Tihar jail complex - one of the largest prisons in the world
which houses about 13,000 prisoners.

In Australia, police said one of the country's most wanted men and the
alleged kingpin of an international drug ring importing cocaine into
Australia has been arrested in the Netherlands. The 40-year-old man,
is alleged to be the head of an international drug-smuggling operation
spanning three continents, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.

AFP spokesman Roman Quaedvlieg said it had been a difficult process to
track him down.

"He did use a number of aliases and false passports to travel," he
said on ABC radio.

"But with the co-operation of Dutch police and the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police we were able to pinpoint him in Amsterdam."

The man gave evidence against a convicted drug trafficker and gangland
figure Tony Mokbel and corrupt detectives who were senior members of
the now disbanded Victorian drug squad.

Mokbel, a convicted drug-smuggler, is serving a 12-month jail sentence
in Greece after being found guilty of identity fraud and is facing
extradition to Australia on murder charges.

The AFP alleged that the syndicate, operating out of Australia, Canada
and the Netherlands, conspired to import cocaine using an
international network of drug couriers.

He has been maintaining a low profile after secretly taping crime boss
Tony Mokbel for police. The notorious Mokbel once dated former TV host
Naomi Robson.

The cocaine smuggling syndicate was allegedly operating out of the
Netherlands and was sending drugs to Australia, Thailand, Canada and
other countries. It was importing up to four kilograms of cocaine into
Australia every month for the last four years.

It specialised in getting drug couriers to hide cocaine in their
bodies, often inside condoms, before boarding commercial flights to
destinations around the world.

AFP assistant commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the syndicate had
used an international network of drug couriers and, while the
quantities were not large, the shipments were frequent.

"They (the couriers) were ingesting bodily the cocaine between 200
grams to a kilo at a time, using predominantly condom packaging,"
Quaedvlieg told reporters in Canberra. "We believe that the syndicate
was using up to three to four couriers per month."

Canada's Mounties were also involved in the international
investigation because many of the couriers came from Canada.

"The cocaine and other drugs that were sourced by the syndicate were
sourced from both South-East Asia and Canada," Quaedvlieg said.
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