Thunder Bay Police Make Biggest Drug in City’s History

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Thunder Bay Police Service

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Police Service have made what Chief of Police JP Lesveque states the largest drug bust in the city’s history. 115 pounds of marijuana were seized and major arrests made. The operation details were announced today.

At a news conference today police announced that two major drug and contraband operations have been dismantled following an extensive investigation named Project Recover. The Intelligence Unit of the Thunder Bay Police Service began the investigation in September 2015. The project continued with the assistance of TBPS Community Response Team and the Ontario Provincial Police.

Phase 1

The initial investigation dealt with the trafficking and smuggling of marijuana and cigarettes. On the evening of Friday May 27, 2016, the Thunder Bay Police Service Intelligence Unit in co-operation with the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Manitoba Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Provincial Police concluded a six month undercover operation.

This phase of the investigation resulted in the arrest of two Thunder Bay men and third from Caledon Ontario. These arrests and charges were reported to the media on May 30, 2016.

Phase 2

During the course of the initial investigation, a second drug trafficking operation was discovered. This operation had connections to the persons involved in phase one of Project Recover. The expanded investigation culminated in a series of arrests beginning on June 15, 2016. Illicit drugs, tobacco, firearms, cash, vehicles and other proceeds of crime were seized. The total seizures are the largest in the history of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

Total Seizures for Phase 1 & 2 of Project Recover:

115 pounds of marijuana – Street value of $1,044,200

1,659 grams of cocaine – Street value of $165,000

Contraband tobacco – Street value of $8,200

Assets seized (vehicles etc.) – $383,000

Cash – $139,650

4 shotguns & 1 long gun

The drugs and tobacco were destined for sale in the Thunder Bay and region. The results of this investigation will assist other regulatory agencies to further their investigations into illegal financial activities.

Project Recover further illustrates a criminal economy which derives gain from individuals who struggle with addiction. While the results of this enforcement effort are very significant, we realize that the efforts to thwart criminal enterprises must be ongoing in order to protect our community.

Project Recover – Phase 2 Charges:

The investigation revealed two distinct groups who were allegedly involved in various criminal activities.

The following are considered members of the VANDENBROEKE group:

Dale VANDENBROEKE (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: November 17, 1986

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana (2 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine (3 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Hydromorphone (2 counts)

Criminal Organization (3 counts)

Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5,000 (2 counts)

Tommaso VERNELLI (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: September 15, 1983

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Criminal Organization

Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5,000

Breach of Trust – The charge of Breach of Trust relates to VERNELLI’s former position as a Youth Services Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Kyle HAKANEN (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: May 8, 1987

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine (2 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Hydromorphone

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Justin James HAUTH (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: August 9, 1993

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Conspiracy to Traffic in Hydromorphone

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Jessica Lauren HANNAFORD-FILION (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: May 25, 1990

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Gabriel Lloyd MOSHER (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: September 23, 1986

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Conspiracy to Traffic in Hydromorphone

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Jason Denis Eugene BISSONNETTE (Ottawa, ON) Date of Birth: April 26, 1978

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Conspiracy to Traffic in Hydromorphone

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Stephan HUARD (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: September 11, 1988

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Chris James SHAEN (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: October 15, 1982

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Josh QUOCKSISTER (Vancouver, B.C.) Date of Birth: June 2, 1990

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine

The following are considered members of LALONDE group:

Steven LALONDE (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: May 25, 1978

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana (5 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis Resin (3 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Tobacco (2 counts)

Criminal Organization (3 counts)

Money Laundering (3 counts)

Possession of a Firearm without a Licence

Sam ELLIOTT (Caledon, ON) Date of Birth: August 23, 1964

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana (2 counts)

Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Tobacco

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Arden Edward BRUYERE (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: September 10, 1959

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis Resin

Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Tobacco

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Matthew BLAIS (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: April 26, 1989

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis Resin

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Siamek “Mac” VAJDANI (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: September 29, 1980

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Jason DOWHANIUK (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: April 11, 1982

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis Resin

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Michelle Jacqueline COSTA (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: October 15, 1980

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana (2 counts)

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Benoit BROUSSEAU (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: August 4, 1970

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis Resin

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Dale VANDENBROEKE (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: November 17, 1986

Conspiracy to Traffic in Marijuana

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

Amanda LALONDE (Thunder Bay, ON) Date of Birth: February 19, 1979

Criminal Organization (2 counts)

NOTE:

VERNELLI, VANDENBROEKE, QUOCKSISTER AND BISSONNETTE have been remanded into custody for future court dates. All others have been released on a Promise to Appear for future court dates.

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