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Manitoba finance officer among 21 arrested in drug trafficking investigation


Manitoba RCMP says they have arrested the head of a drug trafficking ring and a provincial finance officer as part of a nearly year-long investigation.

Known as Project Dawgpound, the investigation resulted in the seizure of about $2.5 million in drugs and 19 firearms, RCMP announced Tuesday afternoon.

“Project Dawgpound yielded fantastic results and got a kilo-level trafficker and his network off the streets,” said Insp. Grant Stephen with the Manitoba RCMP. “We will continue to enforce against the illegal drug trade and disrupt networks that often lead to or are connected with organized crime in the interest of creating a safer Manitoba and a safer Canada.”

RCMP said the investigation started in May 2022, and reached across Canada including Toronto, Calgary, Moncton, Prince Edward Island and Vancouver. Police allege Hue Ha, of Winnipeg, was in charge of the drug trafficking ring, bringing large amounts of cocaine and contraband cigarettes into the province from Ontario.

Contraband cigarettes seized as part of Project Dawgpound, an investigation from RCMP into drug trafficking. (Image source: RCMP)

An investigator with the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit was also arrested for allegedly leaking police enforcement plans. Donovan Sired, 50, of Winnipeg has been charged with bribery of officers, breach of trust by a public officer and conspiracy to evade the payment.

“The allegations are concerning, but I appreciate the fact that the RCMP followed the evidence, found the evidence and did the appropriate thing in terms of laying the charges,” said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

A spokesperson for the Manitoba government says the department is continuing to cooperate with the RCMP.

“Finance also engaged HR immediately to take the appropriate steps respecting the finance official in these circumstances, which we are not at liberty to discuss publicly,” The spokesperson added in a prepared statement.

Goertzen said he expects the finance department will do its own investigation into the leak.

“Whomever is involved in assisting those who are manufacturing and distributing drugs, no matter where you work, doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter why you’re doing it, there are consequences for it,” he said.

Donovan Sired, 50, of Winnipeg has been charged with bribery of officers, breach of trust by a public officer and conspiracy to evade the payment. (Photo uploaded March 14. Source: Donovan Sired/Facebook)

Ha was arrested and is facing numerous charges from conspiracy to drug trafficking.

In addition to Sired and Ha, 19 others from Manitoba and Ontario, including a Corps of Commissionaires guard at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg, were arrested and are facing charges.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told CTV News it is aware of the charges against the former employee who was assigned to the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health.

The statement said the assignment ended in January.

"At no time did they have access to sensitive materials," the statement reads. "The allegations are concerning, and PHAC is cooperating fully with authorities."

The Public Health Agency of Canada said it is calling for an immediate internal investigation into the events that occurred at the National Microbiology Laboratory, and is reviewing internal security procedures.None of the charges against any of the accused have been proven in court.

RCMP seized 7.8 kilograms of cocaine, 13.82 kilograms of crystal MDMA, 327 MDMA tablets, 116 grams of purple down, five kilograms of psilocybin, 139.45 grams of carfentanil and 2.06 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine during the investigation. They also seized drug trafficking paraphernalia, patches from the Crazy Indians gang, and contraband cigarettes, which RCMP said would have yielded $1.47 million in tax revenue in Manitoba. 

firearms seized as part of Project Dawgpound (Image source: RCMP) Top Stories

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