Joint Canada-U.S. Investigation Seizes Over $40 Million in Drugs, Arrests 15

Published: 03 October 2022

Project-Cobra-1In a joint investigation, U.S. and Canadian police agencies took down a transnational drug trafficking organization and seized more than a ton of methamphetamine and cocaine worth over US$40 million. (Photo: ALERT, License)

By Henry Pope

A joint investigation by Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of more than US$40 million in drugs and the arrest of over a dozen suspected drug traffickers, money launderers, and arms traffickers.

Project Cobra, a three-year cross-border investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) turned in several high quantity drug busts, totalling in over 928 kilograms of methamphetamine taken off the streets.

Since 2020, Project Cobra agents combatted transnational drug trafficking and money laundering. Together, they seized $40.2 million worth of methamphetamine and cocaine, with an additional $5.1 million in criminal assets taken into evidence.

Canadian and American police recorded numerous large-scale drug busts over the course of the joint investigation. This included 342 kg of meth in Wyoming, 308 kg of meth in Los Angeles, and 137 kg of meth in Calgary.

Authorities determined that had the drugs managed to slip through their grasp, over a ton of meth and cocaine would’ve found its way into the Alberta drug trade.

In addition to the narcotics, police also seized multiple firearms and millions of dollars worth of properties, bank accounts, luxury vehicles, and other suspected criminal proceeds. These assets include a multi-million dollar home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada; multiple luxury vehicles and classic cars, as well as large quantities of cash.

Police charged fifteen people and one business with 80 criminal offenses for their role in the criminal organization. William Whiteford, 39, and Elias Ade, 38, face 20 and 12 charges, respectively, for multiple counts of drug trafficking, the possession of illegal weapons, and money laundering.

The business implicated in the conspiracy, Fouani Equity Funds Ltd., is an investment firm registered in Calgary, Canada. Authorities have charged the company with laundering the drug proceeds on behalf of the organized crime group.

Project Cobra investigators received assistance from a number of other police agencies and specialized units, including several municipal forces, federal border services, and financial intelligence bureaus.