B.C. RCMP and municipal forces have a dedicated unit for illegal gambling. (Black Press).

RCMP says its stretched thin on B.C. money laundering

Financial crimes coexist with gangs, opioids, human trafficking, terrorism

The RCMP has more than five people working on money laundering, which can’t be separated from the range of activities by international organized crime, a spokesman for the B.C. RCMP says.

Assistant Commander Kevin Hackett of the B.C. released a statement in response to B.C. Attorney General David Eby’s claim Monday that the RCMP’s federally funded division has only five people devoted to investigating money laundering and its involvement in B.C. real estate.

The count of five officers actually on duty out of 25 funded positions “was from a snapshot in time and didn’t capture all personnel who are involved in cases where money laundering is a component,” Hackett said. “Federal policing in B.C. currently has in excess of 40 prioritized projects underway, including eight that involve money laundering.

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated investigators in B.C.

READ MORE: Trudeau government vows to ‘crack down’

Recruiting and retaining forensic accountants, cybercrime experts and other in-demand specialists is also a competitive market internationally, he said.

“This is also at a time when we are dealing with the competing policing priorities, which include terrorism, gang violence, the opioid crisis including fentanyl, missing and murdered women, human trafficking as well as child exploitation and demands for front-line policing resources.”

Eby said Tuesday that his independent investigator Peter German had to ask repeatedly to find out the actual staffing complement, after first being told there were 26 funded positions devoted to B.C.’s situation.

“The time that the snapshot was taken is when we’re facing an international level of criticism in Canada for our failure on anti-money laundering policing,” Eby said. “So it’s hard to think of a worse time.”

Eby released a single chapter of German’s report Monday to put pressure on Ottawa to allocate funds from its latest budget to stepping up organized crime investigations in B.C.

Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, spokesman for the joint organized crime unit that combines RCMP and municipal police efforts, noted that its illegal gaming investigation team was established three years ago.

“In May 2016, only one month after its creation, the Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team initiated an investigation into the activities of an organized crime group that was allegedly involved in operating an illegal money laundering network,” Hougton said, adding that multiple arrests were made after an investigation lasting almost a year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford demonstration planned for Friday

Organizers say they don’t intend to block rail or road traffic downtown

Abbotsford Police seeking Nigel Travis Bragg

25-year-old wanted for four separate charges following incident in January

SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association marks 50th anniversary

Hundreds gather at MSA Arena on Saturday to mark the notable milestone

Victoria, Abbotsford recorded biggest jumps in rent prices nationwide: report

Toronto and Vancouver had priciest rentals in Canada

Fraser Valley Bandits sign former Olympian

Great Britain team member Kyle Johnson signed for 2020 CEBL season

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read