Lottery winner, heir to millions were 2 players in organized crime drug network, court papers say

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A lottery winner who accuses his financial adviser of losing half of his jackpot and a driver who says he inherited $14 million are among the 10 people charged in an alleged multimillion-dollar drug trafficking network between B.C. and Winnipeg.

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Court documents, including a sworn affidavit from a Winnipeg police detective-sergeant, lay out some of the details of the investigation police call Project Riverbank.

It culminated in the arrests and the seizure of nearly $3 million worth of drugs and other property, which police announced on Nov. 1.

None of the allegations against any of the 10 accused have been proven in court.

The affidavit from Det.-Sgt. Ravi Misir, filed in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench on Nov. 1, describes an elaborate, large-scale network that allegedly funnelled millions of dollars of drugs from B.C. to Winnipeg over eight months in 2018.

Mohammad Shakil Khan, 39, who police said was reported to have won nearly $4 million in a 2007 lottery, is accused of being an “instrumental operator” of the network.

His lottery win is part of a separate lawsuit — Khan is in the process of suing his financial adviser for allegedly losing $2.3 million of his winnings.

Insp. Max Waddell, commander of the Winnipeg police organized crime unit, shows some of the drugs seized to media. (Warren Kay/CBC )

“Khan was routinely shipping multiple kilograms of cocaine and ketamine from British Columbia for distribution in the Winnipeg area,” says Misir’s affidavit, which was used to argue for the seizure of property belonging to Khan and his co-accused under the Manitoba Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.

Police allege Khan has ties to the Independent Soldiers street gang in B.C. and is a member of the Wolfpack, an alliance of the Independent Soldiers, Hells Angels and Red Scorpions in B.C. Among Khan’s belongings, they found a belt with a wolf’s head on it and Independent Soldiers clothing, the affidavit says.

Police believe the Wolfpack formed as early as 2010 and Khan has been a member since 2012. Members of the Wolfpack also keep their memberships in their respective organizations, Misir said.

“Wolfpack members have been identified in all provinces, except for the ones east of Quebec,” Misir’s affidavit says. “Wolfpack members are known to be violent and involved in multi-commodity drug trafficking.”

‘Stash locations’

Police allege Khan, who is from Vancouver, was behind an operation in which semi drivers Allan Ronald Rodney, 70, and Shontal Kathleen Vaupotic, 32, both of Surrey, B.C., trucked drugs across the Prairies to Winnipeg. There, they were stashed at a number of properties, diluted with cutting agents and distributed for sale by dealers, police say.

Khan and Winnipeggers Mason Joaquin Burg, 24 and Daniel Jason Finkbeiner, 30, along with Herbert Mejia-Orellana-Delgado, 29, of Edmonton, met Rodney and Vaupotic when they arrived in Winnipeg with the drugs, Misir’s affidavit says.

After his arrest, Rodney told police he was paid $1,500 per trip and he made 20 trips from March 14 to Oct. 18, the affidavit says. 

The drivers, Rodney and Vaupotic, were paid for the drugs, Misir alleges, which were then taken to what police called “stash locations” — houses on Boyd Avenue, Centennial Street, Cartwright Road and Crescent Drive, and apartments on Assiniboine Avenue, Elizabeth Road and Kennedy Street.

The Cartwright and Crescent homes are two of the properties police are asking the courts to seize under proceeds of crime legislation.

Police say Allan Ronald Rodney, 70, recently bought the truck he’s accused of using to take the drugs to Winnipeg. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Police went into the stash locations at various times and saw an estimated 30 kilograms of cocaine, 7.5 kilograms of meth, 4.6 kilograms of MDMA (also known as ecstasy), a kilogram of heroin and more than three kilograms of marijuana. The drugs have an estimated street value of more than $2 million, the affidavit says. 

Cutting agents were also seen, so Misir believes the drugs were diluted and sold for more than that.

Judging by the number of trips Rodney said he made, Misir estimates the shipments actually brought in 10 times that amount of drugs during the eight-month investigation, the affidavit says.

Police believe Khan, who has multiple bank accounts and also flips houses, was earning $640,000 to $720,000 per month. The house flipping may have allowed money laundering, Misir says in his affidavit.

10 charged

Khan, Burg, Rodney and Vaupotic were arrested on Oct. 18 while making an exchange of cash for drugs in Oak Bluff, just outside Winnipeg, the affidavit says. Police seized a kilogram of cocaine and $100,000 from a semi-trailer truck at that location.

The same day, police searched eight properties in Winnipeg, three in B.C., four in Regina and one in Edmonton as they busted the alleged drug network.

After Khan’s lottery win, he put the money into an investment corporation that only had $150,000 left in it on Sept. 30.

However, police say Khan has multiple bank accounts, owns the Cartwright and Crescent Drive homes where drugs were stashed and owned a $2.25 million home in B.C. that he transferred to his dad for $1 in March 2017.

Rodney told police after he was arrested that he had inherited $14 million, although Vaupotic said he’d only inherited a couple million and didn’t have access to it, the affidavit says.

Rodney said his legitimate income is about $10,000 per month.

He owns a $650,000 home in B.C. and a slew of vehicles. He recently purchased the semi he was driving, and also owns:

  • A 2016 McLaren valued at $280,000.
  • A 2017 Porsche valued at $160,000.
  • A 2018 Dodge Ram valued at $90,000.
  • A 2018 Dodge Durango valued at $50,000.
  • A 2018 BMW valued at $78,000.
  • A Harley-Davidson motorcycle valued at $25,000.

Police have laid a total of 156 charges against 10 people in connection with the alleged drug-trafficking network. In addition to Khan, Rodney, Vaupotic, Burg, Finkbeiner and Mejia-Orellana-Delgado, the following people are charged:

  • Lisa Dawn Hallson, 32, of Winnipeg.
  • Amanda Marie Borges, 27, of Winnipeg.
  • Darci Ann Geiger, 33, of Winnipeg.
  • William Junior Fuller, 22, of Winnipeg.

The accused face charges related to conspiracy and trafficking controlled substances, proceeds of crime and firearms.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-drug-trafficking-police-project-riverbank-1.4896698?cmp=rss