Canada gang charged for smuggling weed in maple syrup barrels for crypto

Police in Canada have released details of an ongoing investigation into high-level drug traffickers who allegedly laundered profits using crypto and smuggled marijuana in barrels of maple syrup.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began the ‘Decrypt’ investigation in April 2021. Yesterday’s announcement revealed the operation and focused on 39-year-old James Robert McGirr’s alleged role in various drug trafficking plots.

According to the RCMP, McGirr laundered the cash he made from growing and selling cannabis using crypto. He then spent the funds on both himself and the expansion of his drug enterprise while helping others to launder cash into crypto as well.

McGirr reportedly used the names of fellow traffickers under his legitimate cannabis licenses “to feed his criminal networks with the cannabis he was growing.” He also previously acquired a Health Canada license for a micro-grow operation through fraudulent means. 

As reported by CBC, an undercover police officer was able to purchase large quantities of marijuana from members across the enterprise. McGirr admitted to smuggling “[cannabis] concentrate into and out of the country via barrels of honey or maple syrup” to the undercover cop and said he produced 150 pounds of weed per month.

Read more: Weed & Bitcoin: Dad and son caught running $13M empire from Starbucks

Following a series of searches into properties associated with McGirr last summer, over $6 million worth of illegal assets were seized, including $2 million worth of cannabis, $3 million in property, $700,000 in drug and crypto equipment (including a bitcoin ATM), seven firearms, $200,000 in “lifestyle items” and $15,000 in cash. 

McGirr was arrested alongside six others, one of whom is now dead. They have been issued a medley of charges for their alleged roles in the various drug trafficking rings. The suspects have been released from jail and will soon be scheduled to appear in court.

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