• 02/28/15 - - CSC employees among 29 people arrested

    - - CSC employees among 29 people arrested

    By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig Standard -  Another Correctional Service Canada employee from Kingston and 28 other people from across the province have been charged by the Ontario Provincial Police following a 10-city, 16-month-long investigation called Project Batlow.

    Christopher D'Cunha, 44, of Kingston has been charged by the OPP with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

    A second Kingston person was charged in the OPP's operation. Andrea De Laat, 33, of Kingston has been charged by the OPP with conspiracy to traffic marijuana and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. De Laat's charges came out in court documents Thursday following a raid in Ottawa.

    Blake Cook, 30, of Smiths Falls, who OPP allege is part of a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club support group, "13 Crew," was also charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of steroids for the purpose of trafficking, and two counts of possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000.

    The 29 suspects, including D'Cunha and De Laat, have been charged with more than 150 Criminal Code and Controlled Drug and Substances Act charges by police across Ontario.

    Lynn Brunette, spokesperson for the CSC at its national headquarters in Ottawa, confirmed both D'Cunha and De Laat are CSC employees.

    Kyle Lawlor, media relations spokesperson with CSC regional headquarters in Kingston, said CSC has launched its own investigation into De Laat and D'Cunha.

    Lawlor said it would be inappropriate for further comment while the OPP are investigating, and would not clarify the positions De Laat and D'Cunha hold with the CSC.

    "Due to the Privacy Act, the CSC cannot comment on specific cases of staff misconduct," Lawlor said in an email statement. "CSC employees are expected to act according to the highest legal and ethical standards and are subject to the same rules of professional conduct and code of discipline as stated by the Commissioner's Directive."

    Project Batlow began in October 2013. Its focus was the alleged trafficking of large quantities of cocaine and marijuana by the Ontario Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and support club "13 Crew."

    Project Batlow executed 23 search warrants Wednesday, conducted by the OPP's Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and Biker Enforcement Unit with assistance from Ottawa Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Halton Police Service, Toronto Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and OPP Regional Personal.

    The 29 suspects charged are scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa and Toronto on various dates in March.

    Warrants were executed in Ottawa, Kingston, Carleton Place, Toronto, Georgetown, Kitchener, Cambridge, Montague Township, Wellington County and Bailieboro. Police seized approximately $100,000 worth of cocaine, $20,000 worth of hashish, $9,000 worth of marijuana, oxycodone/percocet table, gamma-hydroxybutyruc acid (GHB), 10 motor vehicles, two Harley Davidson motorcycles and $300,000 cash.

    Also seized:

    • Five hydraulic cocaine presses with one-kilogram pressing plates

    • Three brass knuckles (prohibited weapon)

    • Two flip/butterfly knives (prohibited weapon)

    • Two firearms

    • Assorted ammunition

    • Three pipe bomb containers

    • One crossbow

    • Two ASP batons (prohibited weapon)

    • Push knife (prohibited weapon)

    • Diamond engagement ring — value $14,000

    • Men's watch — value $65,000

    steph.crosier@sunmedia.ca

    Twitter.com/StephattheWhig



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