The B.C. RCMP announced the Canada-wide hunt for alleged 32-year-old Vietnamese gangster Cong Dinh of Burnaby on Tuesday, along with a $50,000 reward.
According to Chief Supt. Keith Finn, Officer In Charge of the RCMP’s federal policing program in B.C., police have been searching for Dinh since he was charged with five counts of money laundering in 2013.
“Dinh and the Vietnamese organized crime group he belonged to is alleged to have laundered millions of dollars from drugs trafficked onto Canadian streets,” said Finn.
Police got onto Dinh’s trail in the wake of a joint RCMP, U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) money laundering and drug trafficking investigation, Finn said.
Investigators found Vietnamese organized crime groups had allegedly laundered at least $2.7 million in money from trafficking cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, Finn said.
Police allege the gang moved the ecstasy and cannabis from Canada into the U.S., while moving cocaine in the other direction. The gang is also alleged to have operations in Vietnam, Mexico and Australia.
That investigation led to charges against one of Dinh’s associates, American Minh Nguyn, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and drug trafficking charges, said Finn.
But by the time prosecutors had approved charges against Dinh in 2013, police believe he had fled to Vietnam.
Investigators have now partnered with the Bolo Program, which uses social media along with traditional methods such as billboards and leaflets to broadcast the faces and details about wanted criminals across the country.
It is the first time the Bolo Program has been used to track a money laundering suspect.
The program was used to put the word out about accused murderer Brandon Teixeira, who was captured Sunday in California after a 14-month manhunt.
“With the number of tips that have been coming in and the recent arrest of fugitive Brandon Teixeira, I can tell you with absolute certainly that the people of the Lower Mainland have been doing a terrific job of being on the lookout for Canada’s most wanted,” said Bolo Program head Maxime Langois.
Langois said the $50,000 reward will only be available until June 3, 2020.
He said the organization had partnered with Crime Stoppers to guarantee that tips — and payment of the potential reward — are 100 per cent anonymous.
“Behind these charges rest many other suspected criminal activities like drug trafficking that directly threaten the people, children and communities of the Lower Mainland and British Columbia,” said Langois.
“If you break the law, jeopardize the safety of our communities and evade arrest, your wanted notice may end up on billboards to make sure the whole country is on the lookout for you.”
Dinh is described as Asian, five-foot-seven and 142 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) section at 778-290-4435 , or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.solvecrime.ca or by downloading the P3 Tips app.