After police raided a mansion North of Toronto, they seized significant cash and charged twenty-nine people. Firearms and ammunition were also taken.
What was happening in a luxury home in the quiet neighborhood? It was an illegal casino and spa! The operation was dismantled as part of what the police called, Project endgame.
And it certainly brought an end to a major underground venue, complete with slot machines, mahjong tables, a full cash bar.
Of course, it also had a banking area. As explained by Deputy Chief Brian Bigras,
“This is organized crime truly exploiting and demonstrating their money,
their positions and opulence thinking somehow that they are above the law.”
It all went down in a sprawling, 20,000-sq.-ft. estate. Police had been tipped off about the illegal operator and entered with a tactical time, but as children were spotted, the raid was aborted. It resumed on July 23rd along with another in Vaughan. Arrests were made accordingly and assets seized. Twenty-nine people now face some 74 charges.
In addition, Since then, another five gaming warrants have led to 47 others being arrested, illustrating that illegal gaming is not limited to high-end operations.
Although the mansion offered gaming to the privileged, in the other locations organized crime is preying on the less fortunate. Police say they suspect sex trafficking was also taking place and that their investigation remains ongoing.
According to Police Chief, Jim MacSween,
“The money moving through these underground casinos leads to huge profits that fund prostitution and drug trafficking.
This illegal high-stakes gambling also leads to gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion and other serious violent offences.”
Chief MaSween vows to target organized crime in the York Region and use every tool at his disposal, including forensic accounting, to ensure criminals are held accountable.