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Six illegal cannabis storefronts dismantled, including Leamington location

Police seized illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco in several locations in Ontario. (Source: OPP) Police seized illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco in several locations in Ontario. (Source: OPP)
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Police dismantled six illegal cannabis storefronts, including one in Leamington.

The stores have been closed after enforcement action by the OPP-led Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET) in Niagara and the surrounding area.

The illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco seized have a value of approximately $1 million.

On June 5, members from PJFCET, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, OPP Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit and Niagara Regional Police executed nine search warrants in the Niagara area, with a focus on shutting down six storefronts operating illegally under the name "Indige Smoke" located in Hamilton, Fort Erie, Thorold, Welland, St. Catharines and Leamington.Police seized illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco in several Ontario locations operating under the name "Indige Smoke". (Source: OPP)

"Indige Smoke" was not authorized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to sell cannabis or cannabis products. Police say these illegal storefronts will be held under Interim Closure Orders as per section 18(1) of the Cannabis Control Act (CCA).

"Cannabis remains a lucrative commodity for criminal networks. The Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team is focused on disrupting and charging criminal networks involved in the illegal cannabis trade in Ontario. Not only is it against the law to sell or purchase illegal cannabis, but consumers are faced with health risks that come from using untested and unregulated products," said OPP Det. Insp. Anne Goodwin with the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau.

Persons with interest in any of the locations (including owners) who wish to enter these premises may apply to the Superior Court of Justice to get permission under section 18(4) of the CCA. Anyone who enters the buildings that are subject to interim closure may be arrested and charged with breaking in.

As a result of the search warrants, the following items were seized:

  • More than $640,000 in illegal cannabis and illegal cannabis products
  • More than $350,000 in contraband tobacco
  • Approximately $29,000 CAD currency
  • Three handguns
  • One shotgun
  • Ammunition
  • Approximately two ounces of suspected cocaine
  • Digital scales
  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Video surveillance systems

Police seized illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco in several locations in Ontario. (Source: OPP)Eleven individuals were arrested and charged with 34 offences contrary to the CC, the Cannabis Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The accused were released from custody and will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines on July 18.

This investigation is ongoing. Any person with information regarding the illegal sale of cannabis should contact the OPP's non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122. Alternatively, you can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

ABOUT ILLEGAL CANNABIS

It is against the law to purchase cannabis from anywhere other than online through the Ontario Cannabis Store or an Ontario-authorized, licensed retail store.

Legal vs. Illegal Cannabis

Cannabis product packages are marked in consistent ways. Learn more about the product indicators of legal cannabis.

The use of illegal cannabis also increases personal risk. Learn more from the Government of Canada regarding the risks of illegal cannabis.

Individuals who purchase cannabis from an illegal source, whether it is a storefront, online or a dealer, are committing a crime.

Profits from illegal cannabis sales are often laundered to finance other criminal activities including illegal drugs, firearms and human trafficking.

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