Local police made a major raid on a mansion conducting an illegal spa and gambling operation. Arrests were made and twenty-nine people were charged. Significant alcohol cash was confiscated along with nearly a dozen firearms (and one fully loaded rifle) and major amounts of ammunition.
Who knew a luxury mansion in such a quiet neighborhood had such goings on? It was so amazing that the police investigation was known as Project Endgame.” Twenty-nine people now face some 74 charges in connection with the investigation along with the owner.
The massive underground gambling operation was replete with slot machines, mahjong tables, a full cash bar with thousands of bottles of premium alcohol and even a banking area. Bedrooms upstairs operated as a bed and breakfast. There is concern about sex trafficking. Such operations often launder money for prostitution and drug trafficking.
It all went down in a 20,000-sq.-ft. estate on Midland Avenue. Gaming tables and video slots were seized. According to Chief Brian Bigras of the York Police Department.
“This is organized crime truly exploiting and demonstrating their money,
their positions and opulence thinking somehow that they are above the law.”
The illegal operations have been on-going for a year or more but came to light during the pandemic. Chief of Police Jim MacSween commented,
“The money moving through these underground casinos leads to huge profits for criminals…illegal high-stakes gambling also leads to gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion and other serious violent offences within our community.”
After the initial arrests, the police executed another five gaming warrants at other less impressive venues, resulting in 47 more arrests. They illustrate that illegal gaming is not limited to high-end operations and the privileged. Criminals prey on less fortunate, addicted gamblers.
The police will continue to target organized crime in York Region and use every tool at their disposal, including forensic accounting, to ensure these criminals are held accountable.