Canadian Jimmy Cournoyer is currently in US custody, accused of using cross-continental crime contacts to move millions of dollars worth of hydroponic marijuana from Canada to the United States, and cocaine from Mexico to Canada.
According to US prosecutors quoted in Canada’s National Post, over the last decade Cournoyer led an operation that transported marijuana grown in British Colombia to New York in trucks, motorhomes, and SUVs.
Prosecutors estimate that by 2009, Cournoyer’s operation was moving 450 kilos of marijuana into New York every week and had plans to expand to 2,250 kilos.
Authorities say the operation connected the Rizzuto crime group in Montreal, the Canadian Hells Angels and the Bonanno crime family in New York, according to the National Post.
Cournoyer allegedly reinvested profits from the operation in buying cocaine from in Mexico, primarily from contacts in the Sinaloa Cartel, then resold the drug in Canada, where street prices can be up to twice as high as in the United States.
After a five-year joint operation between the DEA and Canadian police, Cournoyer was arrested in Mexico in February 2012 and flown to Houston, where he was turned over to the US authorities and charged with drug trafficking. He is expected to stand trial in a Brooklyn Federal Court in summer 2013, and deny all charges.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Cournoyer case is another example of the international reach of the Mexican criminal organizations, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, and how they play a pivotal role in the global drugs trade, not just trafficking to the United States.
It is not the first time Canadian drug trafficking organizations have been linked to Mexican cartels. Canada’s notorious United Nations Gang, also known as Global United Nations Syndicate (GUNS), allegedly had links with Mexican criminal organizations since at least 2008. In 2012, the gang was hit hard by a spate of arrests and killings, some of which took place in Mexico.
Other Canadian groups involved in the drug trade, including the Canadian Hells Angels and the Gisby Crime Group, also allegedly have contacts with Mexican traffickers.