Saturday, June 17, 2017

Guilty verdicts in major Niagara-based cocaine operation

A jury in Welland took less than four hours to find two men guilty for their roles in an international Niagara-based cocaine ring for which cocaine-filled granite boulders were imported from Mexico. Jeffrey Kompon, 46, of Welland and Vito Buffone, 53, of Caledon had pleaded not guilty in Superior Court of Justice to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to import. The trial lasted more than three months.

Cocaine was smuggled in boulders imported from Mexico and Brazil as building materials for kitchen countertops and other uses.
The cocaine was imported into Canada at Montreal and other border points in Ontario and taken to a warehouse in Port Colborne where the drugs were extracted from the boulders. The cocaine was then transported to various locations in the Toronto area. Kompon and Buffone were among 14 people arrested when police conducted a series of early morning raids in 2014. Police seized more than $1.2 million in cocaine.
The crime ring imported more than a tonne of cocaine in less than two years. The operation included associates of the Sinaloa crime cartel in Mexico. Also seized during the raid was $250,000 worth of marijuana, $430,000 cash, $400,000 in watches and other jewelry, a handgun and two shotguns. Thirteen high-end vehicles were also seized including a Ferrari and a Porsche.

Two people who were associated with the cartel received 17-and 18-year terms behind bars, respectively. Kompon and Buffone were in the “upper echelon” in terms of their involvement in the crime ring.