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5 charged after $37 million in illegal cannabis seized, York police say

Police say 3,189 pounds of dried cannabis was among what was seized. Handout / York Regional Police

York Regional Police say five people have been charged after officers seized $37 million in illegal cannabis earlier this month.

Police said an investigation began in February after officers received information about a business in Richmond Hill “that was believed to be involved in the distribution of illicit drugs.”

It was determined that the suspects had medical cannabis licences at two locations, but the operations were “entirely illegal” and drugs were being sold “in the criminal market with funds going to organized crime,” police said.

Read more: Over $700K in illegal edible cannabis-based candies seized from Hamilton factory

On Aug. 12, York police officers along with the Ontario Provincial Police executed search warrants in multiple locations, including in Toronto, York Region, Brighton and Norfolk.

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Police said more than $37 million of marijuana was seized, including 3,189 pounds of dried cannabis and 64 kg of hash.

Around $200,000 in cash was also allegedly seized and 2,567 cannabis plants were destroyed.

Five people were arrested and each face two charges.

Jiwen “Johnny” Chen, 31, Jianning Chen, 56, Nang Huan, 47, all of Markham, Derek Lau, 35, of Toronto, and Cong Hoag, 19, of Brighton, were arrested and charged with possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution and cultivate, propagate or harvest a cannabis plant that is from seed or plant material that is illicit cannabis.

Jiwen was additionally charged with possession of proceeds of crime.

Police said Monday the investigation is ongoing.

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