A 43-year-old Winnipeg man faces marijuana trafficking charges after Winnipeg Police busted a highly-sophisticated cannabis trafficking operation where customers could place their orders online and the pot was delivered city-wide by drivers using insulates bags labelled from commonly-known restaurant delivery services.
At a press conference at police headquarters on Friday, police announced a large seizure from the business which was known as ‘Dr Kush’ and was housed in a building located in the Sargent Park neighbourhood, complete with a warehouse to assist in the distribution of cannabis. Confirmation was obtained from both Health Canada and Manitoba Liquor and Gaming and Cannabis Authority that the operation was not licenced, police said.
More than $220,000 in prepacked cannabis, vaping oil and prepackaged shatter were seized along with $8,000 in computers and tablets used to facilitate online orders and deliveries and 10,000 units of custom packaging material. Two suspects remain at large.
“A lot of times, it is unfortunately thought of as in the investigation of drugs especially with cannabis being legal as who truly is the victim in regards to this?,” said Patrol Sgt. Jeffrey Norman of the Central Division Community Support Unit. “There are three that we can specifically talk to. Victims that we think about are those that are the businesses have gone tirelessly through the process in regards to obtaining licences to lawfully distribute cannabis. The other are the companies that legitimately deliver food to citizens of Winnipeg with their items being used to camouflage this illegal business.
“The largest one I can think of is the persons that purchased the cannabis from this company because they thought was or may have thought was a legitimate company is they’re not getting the quality control which has been set in place by regulatory bodies of Canada.”
Norman said the warehouse where the cannabis was distributed was “by no means clean.” In among the process of putting these bags together was rodent feces, he said.
“Obviously, a legitimate business would not allow that to be introduced into the packaging and the delivery of a product,” he said, noting that the cannabis has yet to be tested to determine tetrahydrocannabinol or THC levels. “But this wasn’t their concern. Their concern was getting a product and making financial gains.”
An email purporting to be from the company was sent to the Winnipeg Sun, offering to give “their side” of the story. However, no follow-up statement was received.
The company’s website was still up and running on Friday although it was listed as being ‘Out of stock.’
Norman could not say how long the operation had been up and running but said it came on the police’s radar in the beginning of February and his unit’s attention last month.
“For most of customers of this company, this is going to be their first announcement that there had been any type of trouble in respects to law enforcement investigating this business,” he said.