NEW YORK, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A five-year inquiry indicates an alliance of Canadian crime families, biker gangs and drug kingpins fueled New York's marijuana trade, investigators said.
The investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police in Laval, Quebec, where French-Canadian drug lord Jimmy "Cosmo" Cournoyer once lived, indicated his network specialized in producing and distributing hydroponic marijuana cultivated in British Columbia, the New York Post reported Monday.
Cournoyer, awaiting trial in federal court in New York, organized the "vast international drug-trafficking enterprise that has been in existence for more than a decade," prosecutor Steven Tiscione said in court papers. "The illegal narcotics distributed worldwide by members of the criminal enterprise have a retail value of more than $1 billion, conservatively."
The Post said sources and court documents indicated one of Cournoyer's biggest customers was reputed Bonanno crime-family associate John "Big Man" Venizelos.
Money generated by the marijuana sales was used to buy cocaine from Joaquin Guzman Loera, leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel while the sale of cocaine helped underwrite the marijuana operation in Canada, federal officials said.