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4 arrested after Edmonton police assist in Australian extortion investigation

Click to play video: 'International extortion case with connections to Edmonton' International extortion case with connections to Edmonton
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton police have charged two people in connection to an extortion investigation spanning two continents that couldn’t be much farther apart. As Sarah Komadina explains Australian police believe a Canadian man is the mastermind of violent acts in Sydney. – Feb 24, 2021

Two Canadians are facing extortion charges after a joint investigation between the Edmonton Police Service and the Australian Federal Police.

In December 2019, Australian police opened an investigation into a home invasion and robbery in Sydney.

According to police, the residence and occupants of the home continued to be targets of “violent incidents and extortion” over social media and by letters left at the home.

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Australian police linked the social media accounts to Edmonton and the EPS received an INTERPOL request from Australian police to assist.

Police in Edmonton and in New South Wales conducted simultaneous search warrants at noon on Feb. 23 in Edmonton and at 6 a.m. on Feb. 24 in Australia.

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“With the immediacy of today’s communication tools, it was critical for us to collaborate with Australian police to make simultaneous arrests on opposite sides of the planet,” Det. Phil Hawkins, with the EPS cyber crime investigations unit, said.

“The search warrants were executed seamlessly and together, we were able to bring four suspects in two countries into custody without incident.”

The Edmonton warrants were executed at two addresses in northeast Edmonton. Ghazi Shanta, 33, and Diana Kadri, 32, are both facing charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

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Police reportedly seized an imitation firearm and electronic devices from one of the addresses.

Two men, aged 22 and 24, were arrested in the Australian investigation.

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