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Updated: N.B. residents charged in $55M drug trafficking, money laundering, organized crime bust

Police seized $7M worth of property, bank accounts, luxury vehicles, and other suspected proceeds of crime. This includes a $3.5 million home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche, classic cars, and $200,000 cash.

CALGARY – Two North Battleford residents have been arrested in a $55 million cross-border drug bust. The bust, dubbed Project Cobra, was a three-year organized crime investigation into transnational drug importation, drug trafficking, and money laundering.

Tianna Bull, 24, and Russell Ens, 39, were two of 15 people arrested and charged with 80 criminal offences for everything from participation in a criminal organization and drug trafficking to importation of a controlled substance and laundering proceeds of crime.

Enns is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime. Bull is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The suspects were arrested and charged between May 2022 and August 2022.

As the result of enforcement initiatives on both sides of the border, 928 kilograms of methamphetamine and 6 kilograms of cocaine were intercepted. In addition, approximately $7 million worth of assets have been seized or placed under criminal restraint.

Project Cobra relied on the assistance of a number of police agencies and specialized units, including: Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Niagara Regional Police, Canada Revenue Agency, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), and RCMP units in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Sask., and Osoyoos, B.C.

Nineteen firearms were also seized, which included handguns, rifles, sub-machine guns, and suppressors.

Seven million dollars’ worth of property, bank accounts, luxury vehicles, and other suspected proceeds of crime have been seized or placed under criminal restraint. This includes a $3.5 million home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche, classic cars, and $200,000 cash.

Project Cobra began in 2020 and a series of 11 coordinated search warrants were executed in December 2021. Homes, vehicles, businesses, and storage locations were searched in Calgary, Bedford, Nova Scotia, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and Leduc County, Alta.

Police agencies collaborated to make numerous large-scale drug seizures during the course of Project Cobra. These were shipments destined for Alberta, and included 5 kg of cocaine in North Battleford, 7 kg of meth and 1 kg of cocaine and 137 kg of meth in Calgary, 50 kg of meth at Lake Koocanusa, B.C., 342 kg of meth in Wyoming,  and 392 kg of meth of meth in Los Angeles.

The other 13 charged include: Elias Ade, 38, from Calgary, charged with 12 offences.; Abdul Akbar, 37, from Calgary, charged with 8 offences; Lina El-Chammoury, 50, from Calgary, charged with 2 offences; Talal Fouani, 46, from Calgary, charged with 3 offences; Belal Fouani, 44, from Calgary, charged with 3 offences; Kari-Lynn Grant, 51, from Calgary, charged with 4 offences; Scott Hunt, 33, from Calgary, charged with 3 offences; Ricco King, 50, from Bedford, N.S., charged with 5 offences; Jarett Mackenzie, 32, from Calgary, charged with 6 offences; Jesse Marshall, 52, from Calgary, charged with 4 offences; Daniel Menzul, 32, from Calgary, charged with 4 offences; Sean Nesbitt, 44, from Calgary, charged with 3 offences; William Whiteford, 39, from Leduc County, charged with 20 offences; and Fouani Equity Funds Ltd. charged with 1 offence.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

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ljoy@glaciermedia.ca

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