Island Mounties seize $2.6M US in cash

Forty-four-year-old Jeffrey Melchior of Lake Cowichan faces charges of possession of property obtained through crime and money laundering

Cpl. Paul Minkley

Cpl. Paul Minkley



Rudy Haugeneder

News Staff

Amidst the tightest police security ever seen at RCMP District Headquarters in Victoria, police on Tuesday announced they had seized more than $2.6 million US in what Mounties describe as one of the largest seizures of laundered money in Canada.

RCMP Supt. Derek Simmonds, in charge of the federal Border Integrity program in B.C, said the money was fished out of Canadian waters near Sidney in the middle of the night last March after the pilot of a suspicious fast moving boat without running lights threw a suitcase of money into the water just as an RCMP patrol boat was about to intercept it.

After first recovering the suitcase, police arrested Jeffrey Melchior, 44, of Cowichan Lake, who is charged with possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime.

Simmonds said the seizure and arrest was the result of Melchior’s bad seamanship rather than intelligence they had collected.

He said the five-metre-rigid hull inflatable boat was just two nautical miles – six minutes – away from the U.S. border when police intercepted the vessel. Melchior was not armed and the only man aboard.

Simmonds said the only reason the suitcase full of money didn’t sink was because police were only metres away when Melchior threw it overboard and police acted instantly to recover it.

If it hadn’t been for Melchior moving at high speed toward the international border on a route known for smugglers the RCMP border integrity operations centre might have missed it.

Simmonds said the centre relayed the suspicious information to a RCMP marine patrol and it moved to cut Melchior off before he got to the border. There was no high-speed pursuit.

Simmonds said moving curency or contraband in large sums like this is a common identifier for organized crime activity.

Melchior, who is not in custody and was not previously know to police, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Nov. 21 in Victoria.

Once the case is settled, Simmonds said the cash will be diverted into the federal government’s general revenues.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read