An investigation into illegal gaming houses launched in May by York Regional Police has resulted in the seizure of a 20,000 square foot mansion, 11 firearms and $1 million in cash.
At a news conference on Wednesday, police shared details of Project End Game in which dozens of people face charges.
The York Regional Police intelligence unit and the guns, gangs and drug enforcement unit started their investigation after receiving information that identified underground casinos.
A search warrant was carried out at a Toronto commercial unit on July 3. Police said they seized gaming tables and video slot machines, and $20,000 in cash. Five people were arrested.
Less than a month later, a second search warrant was executed by York Regional Police with the assistance of the OPP and officers from Durham Region.
Police arrested 32 people inside a 20,000 square foot mansion in Markham. Investigators allege the house was a cover for a “high-end illegal casino.”
Police said they restrained the $9 million mansion and seized 11 guns with ammunition, $1.5 million in booze, $1 million in cash, and tables and game machines.
A third search warrant was executed three weeks later at a home in Vaughan where police arrested three people and seized $70,000 in cash.
During the course of the investigation so far, 45 people have been arrested. Thirty-three of the suspects face a combined 70 criminal charges. Those charged are between the ages of 23 and 64.
“While the total value of these seizures is significant, this is only the start of our efforts to dismantle organized crime groups who are operating illegal gaming operations in York Region,” said Chief Jim MacSween.
“The money moving through these underground casinos leads to huge profits for criminals that fund other ventures such as prostitution and drug trafficking. This illegal high-stakes gambling also leads to gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion and other serious violent offences within our community. We will continue to target organized crime in York Region and use every tool at our disposal, including forensic accounting, to ensure these criminals are held accountable.”
Police said the investigation continues.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact officers at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7817 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)