T.O. Police Corruption Probe Widens

Jan 20th, 2004, By Alan Cairns - Toronto Sun

The scope of alleged corruption within a Toronto Police drug squad appeared to widen yesterday with the release of previously sealed court documents. Information contained in police affidavits suggests allegations go far beyond criminal charges laid against six former drug cops 13 days ago and also appears to contradict Chief Julian Fantino's statement that the scandal is "isolated" and has been dealt with appropriately.

The affidavits, released by the Ontario court of appeal, contain a statement by RCMP Chief Supt. John Neily, head of the probe, that "evidence of criminal activity exists against 17 members" of the Central Field Command.

In another affidavit, Neily stated 12 were involved in "serious criminal behaviour."

"I am attempting to identify only those who are alleged to have committed the most serious offences," Neily wrote.

The affidavits contain allegations officers were involved in the theft of "large quantities of drugs and the later resale of drugs" to "significant drug criminals and organized crime figures, including outlaw motorcycle gang associates."

One officer is alleged to have been "actively involved" in drug trafficking in recent months.

There are also allegations an officer was targeted by a sting operation in which cops posed as money launderers. The officer rode shotgun on the staged delivery of hundreds of thousands of dollars and stolen diamonds; he was told the loot came from illegal drug transactions.

There are also suspicions more than one central drug crew may have been involved in "serious criminal activity" including thefts from safety deposit boxes.

Toronto lawyer Edward Sapiano, whose April 1999 complaints prompted Fantino to appoint Neily to head a 25-man task force to probe the squad, said the new revelations bolster his call for a public inquiry and "foreshadow the nature of the evidence we can anticipate at the criminal trial.

"In my view, the nature of the trials will render a public inquiry inevitable," Sapiano said last night.

Charged are six former drug squad cops: Staff-Sgt. John Schertzer and Detectives Steve Correia, Joseph Miched, Raymond Pollard, Richard Benoit and Ned Maodus.

Schertzer is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, three counts of attempting to obstruct justice, perjury, theft over $5,000, assault causing bodily harm and extortion.

Correia is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, two counts of attempting to obstruct justice, two counts of perjury, theft over $5,000 and extortion.

Miched is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts each of attempting to obstruct justice and perjury.

Pollard is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, perjury and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice. Benoit is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, assault causing bodily harm and extortion.

Maodus is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, assault causing bodily harm and extortion and five counts each of attempting to obstruct justice and perjury. Maodus is also charged with two counts of possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking, another count relating to heroin and possession of Ecstasy.

Police allege they found the drugs on March 22, 2002, one day after OPP arrested Maodus on unrelated charges of sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm, two counts of assault, uttering threats and weapons charges.

Four more ex-drug cops -- Jason Kondo, Greg Forestall, Jonathan Reid and Mike Turnbull -- were named as unindicted co-conspirators but were not charged.

The affidavits -- filed by police the past 30 months in a bid to keep a lid on details surrounding the freeing of convicted drug dealer Simon Yeung in 2001 -- refer to evidence that links 12 ex-drug cops to "significant criminal behaviour."

Yeung, who pleaded guilty to heroin trafficking after he was busted by Schertzer's crew in 1999, served 18 months of a 45-month sentence when prosecutors told him they would support an appeal.

An initial affidavit, filed on July 5, 2001, by Det.-Sgt. Randy Franks of the Toronto Police internal affairs unit, detailed allegations of how Schertzer's team hid the existence of a police agent -- a drug dealer recruited to assist officers -- in a search warrant and then tried to cover it up at court.

Since then, Neily has filed six subsequent affidavits in which he persuaded the appeal court to keep the details of Franks' probe under wraps so as to prevent disclosure prior to the end of his own investigation.

In the affidavits, Neily said he had "identified eight cases in which reasonable and probably grounds exist to support criminal charges."

Neily also wrote that, by mid-summer 2002, he had "concluded 17 cases due to a lack of evidence. In many of these cases, the information provided by witnesses or confidential informants could not be corroborated," he wrote.

A detailed list of allegations in one affidavit lists Schertzer and 14 members of his team with 122 potential criminal charges associated with 28 cases Neily's team reviewed. The affidavits also allege that Maodus stole cocaine and guns and then sold them.

In addition, they reveal that the federal department of justice has had to stay or withdraw "over 200 cases" related to the drug squad probe.