Officers in Toronto poker room bust accused of planting evidence
By Bob Garcia
The case against the illegal poker room and casino that operated out of a Toronto-area mansion last year is in jeopardy thanks to allegations that police planted evidence and took $450,000 worth of watches.
“In the course of our work defending Mr. (Wei) Wei, we uncovered troubling evidence pointing to instances of serious police misconduct, including conduct that, if proven, would amount to criminal offences,” commented Danielle Robitaille, the accused’s lawyer.
On September 30th, officers from York Regional Police (a police force for a large region outside of Toronto, Canada) held a news conference outside a $9 million mansion announcing that they had seized $11.5 million in cash, alcohol, gaming supplies, and property from the elaborate home at the end of July. Police also seized 11 guns.
According to Robitaille, York Regional Police officers took photos and videos of the accused’s belongings in a bedroom he used after the warrant was executed. The video shows how the belongings were found upon entering the room and when items were moved.
But the items (a $300,000 Patek Philippe watch bought in Paris and a $150,000 Jaeger-LeCoultre watch bought in Hong Kong) don’t appear in the exit photos and videos, nor were they bagged and tagged. What’s more, they couldn’t be found by officers.
That wasn’t the only concern raising eyebrows. There was also a gun holster found in the bedroom during a secondary search.
“That holster was planted by police in an apparent attempt to connect Mr. Wei to various firearms found elsewhere at 5 Decourcy,” noted Robitaille. “A close examination of police videos and photographs raise serious concerns about how a gun holster appeared for the very first time in Mr. Wei’s bedroom suite almost 17 hours after the search commenced.” She went on to say, “Multiple sets of officer notes indicate that police had secured the scene the night of July 23, 2020, and into July 24, 2020. This evidence suggests that the holster was planted in Mr. Wei’s room by police.”
Regarding the complaints and concerns, Laura Nicolle, a media relations officer for York Regional Police, said, “Chief MacSween directed the professional standards bureau to investigate the complaint. The [unit] was unable to complete the investigation or report its findings before Ms. Robitaille sent her letter of complaint to the OIPRD on Saturday.”