Ontario: Human trafficking network busted; $4m cash, cannabis worth $3m and 34 firearms seized

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The investigators of the York Regional Police Major Crime Bureau – Human Trafficking Section busted a major human trafficking network and seized $4 million in cash, illegal cannabis worth $3 million, and 34 firearms.

The investigators busted the network in Greater Toronto Area, following a year long investigation launched in November 2020, in cooperation with the Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canada Border Services Agency executed.

The investigators executed 20 search warrants at locations across the GTA, most of which were suspected of being sex trade operations.

“Six people have been charged. Officers seized more than $4 million dollars from accounts operated by the primary accused, approximately $3 million in illegal cannabis and 34 firearms with ammunition were seized for public safety,” the York Regional Police said in a statement.

The statement further added seven victims have been located and were taken to safe locations where they have been connected with victim support services.

Di LUAN, 38, of Markham, having alias names of Andy LUAN, Vincent LUAN, Chia Hao CHENG, Jia Hoa ZHENG, was charged with Trafficking in Persons, Material Benefit from Trafficking in Persons, Procuring x2, Advertising Sexual Services, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Careless Storage of a Firearm, Fraud Over $5,000, and Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000.

Geoffrey PAYUMO, 51, of Scarborough, Jia Zhi LI, 47, of Markham, Ziyou ZHANG, 28, female, of Markham, and Harold LAI, 40, of Richmond Hill, were charged with Material Benefit from Trafficking in Persons and Procuring.

Jing JIN, 41, of Toronto, was charged with Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Distribution.

Investigators also released a photo of one accused as they believe he may be involved with other vulnerable women. They are asking for those victims to come forward. Any victims of human trafficking who are hesitant to come forward due to immigration status concerns should be aware that they have the right to support and protection under the laws in Canada.

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