Nearly a year ago, Toronto Police received a drug shipment tip-off from a legitimate courier company when a plain cardboard box accidentally opened while in transit from British Columbia to Toronto.
That prompted the launch of Project Green Giant that led to the largest one-time cash seizure by Toronto Police, the confiscation of 203 kilos of marijuana and three kilos of hashish as well as four arrests.
Almost $2.4 million in cash was seized after police conducted search warrants on three safety deposit boxes at two banks, a commercial unit in Rexdale, a storage locker in Toronto, a private residence in Vaughan, a car and a Toronto industrial unit, alleged to have had a large-scale hashish lab.
“All of the equipment to manufacture hashish was located within that factory – chemicals, presses and the packaging to manufacture hashish and undoubtedly to distribute,” Staff Inspector Randy Franks said, at a media conference at police headquarters on Feb. 24.
The warrant executed at the storage locker at 120 Wicksteed Ave. in Toronto resulted in the seizure of 44 kilos of marijuana from a storage unit alleged to be used by Nitesh Tailor, who was the main target of the investigation.
Franks said Tailor did not have a criminal record and was not known to police prior to his arrest on Feb. 20 in his residence’s underground parking garage.
“We identified him as a result of the investigation throughout 2013 and began our investigation focusing on him,” said Franks. “The banking information related to Mr. Tailor identified these safety deposit boxes being in his control.
“…They had their own network of suppliers in British Columbia that were regularly able to ship bulk marijuana. It was an ongoing process…This is a significant seizure from this criminal organization that, as far as we could tell, was operating in Canada only. We have no knowledge of a U.S connection even though American currency was seized.”
Franks said Toronto Police are liaising with their British Columbia counterparts as part of the ongoing investigation.
“No arrests have been made from that end,” he added.
Arrested as part of the investigation are 50-year-old Antonio Sergi, of Brampton, and 35-year-old Edward Vaserbakh, of Toronto, on drug possession, trafficking and proceeds of crime charges.
Justin Young, 31, of Toronto was also arrested for failure to comply with recognizance.