Some crime certainly seems to pay

It seems that the Vancouver housing market has been floating on top of a huge pool of drug money.

The stately $17-million mansion owned by a suspected fentanyl importer is at the end of a gated driveway on one of the priciest streets in Shaughnessy, Vancouver’s most exclusive neighbourhood.

A block away is a $22-million gabled manor that police have linked to a high-stakes gambler and property developer with suspected ties to the Chinese police services.

Both mansions appear on a list of more than $1-billion worth of Vancouver-area property transactions in 2016 that a confidential police intelligence study has linked to Chinese organized crime.

The study of more than 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in B.C.’s Lower Mainland in 2016 found that more than 10 per cent were tied to buyers with criminal records. And 95 per cent of those transactions were believed by police intelligence to be linked to Chinese crime networks.

The study findings, obtained by Global News, are a startling look at what police believe to be the massive money laundering occurring in the Vancouver-area real estate market.

They are also an indication of how — according to police intelligence sources — Canada’s narcos are hiding the huge amounts of cash they are amassing from the fentanyl crisis, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Canadians last year.

While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5-billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012.

There’s more at the link.

The amounts involved are staggering.  They certainly illustrate the almost complete, abject failure of efforts to contain the use of illegal drugs.  Even more, they illustrate how an entire market area – in this case, housing – can become just as addicted to, and dependent on, the profits of the drug trade as those who are addicted to its products.  I’m informed by friends in law enforcement circles that any attempt to intervene in such markets (they exist here in the USA, too) in order to prevent money-laundering is often actively resisted by those profiting from the sale of real estate, and/or the appreciation in the value of their own properties.  Drug money has corrupted entire regions in that way, up to and including local politicians.  (That’s not surprising, of course – the same happened with bootleggers during Prohibition.  Ask Al Capone.)

The problem is, it’s not confined to luxury housing.  As values rise at the top end of the market, so pressure grows to build more high-end housing to meet the demand.  That, in turn, means that middle- and lower-end housing is bought in order to demolish it and build “better” houses on the property thus made available.  The supply of affordable housing grows smaller, which pushes up the price of what remains.  That’s great for those already owning property(ies) in the area, but lousy for those wanting to buy their first home at an affordable price.

I’d love to know how many major urban areas are affected by an influx of drug money, and the proceeds of other crimes as well.  I suspect it’s a bigger problem than we think.



  1. Gentrifying: Pushing out low-income and lower class people to make way for the new breed of civilian aristocrats who achieved their high status by unsavory means.

    In such a fair-minded world with equally fair-minded societies no wonder social unrest and even terrorism has become so much a collective norm.

  2. The Vancouver BC housing market has been inflating as bad or worse than other West Coast cities for a long time, and one acknowledged factor has been wealthy Chinese buying second homes.

    The drug connection is interesting.

  3. There's going to be one helluva crash when it inevitably ends… And those in the service industry are pushed further and further away from their jobs by housing costs.

  4. I saw Scott Adam's video the day after his step-son died of fentanyl overdoes. Needless to say he was quite distraught and struggled through making the video. He said that the Chinese government should terminate (e.g. kill) the pharmaceutical executives who are diverting fentanyl from legitimate medical use to the underground market.

    The article linked to in here is one part of a four articles on the Big Circle Boys and the results of their fentanyl trafficking. What is clear is that the Big Circle Boys have networks that include finance people, manufacturing people, and corrupt government officials of China. The Chinese government is also making their response to drug trafficking contingent to other non-related diplomatic and foreign policy issues.

    One wonders if large segments of Chinese society is viewing the fentanyl trafficking to the West as a replay (and payback) of Britain's opium policy towards China during the 19th century when the Brits sought to get as many Chinese people as possible hooked opium in order to maintain their balance of trade with China.

    I suspect that certain elements in the Chinese fentanyl networks may view this as payback as payback is a bitch.

    I'm wondering if such money laundering is a part of the housing bubble in U.S. west coast cities as well.

  5. Yawn, this isn't the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last. As I recall, greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

  6. Almost 40 years ago, when I moved out of South Florida, the influence of drug money was so common it was just assumed. If you had a house near the ocean or with access to the ocean (the Intracoastal Waterway) someone would come to buy it pretty quickly. Often, there were said to be bidding wars and it went for more than was asked. That money propagated inland and everything had its price run up.

    This was on cocaine money from the South American drug trade.

  7. Medical and legal recreational marijuana has grossly inflated real estate prices in the Denver area. All aspects of the trade can't use banks, so it's totally a cash business. Who would have thought that being hip deep in cash money would be a problem? So, they buy stuff. Like, oh, I don't know, houses. And, it looks to me like traffic has about doubled. Last Monday, the Denver City Council (ptui) voted 12 to 1 in favor of a 2 year trial program to set up a "safe injection site" so drug users can shoot up under medical supervision, with clean needles. The liberal owned state house and senate won't be much of an obstacle. These people are gonna slide me right back to America, sometimes known as Texas.

  8. Let's be honest… Drugs wouldn't be making as much money for the criminal element if they weren't illegal.

    We've held a de-facto plebiscite in this country on the drug issue, and the druggies won. So, why bother? Make it all legal, let the "user-prone" element of the population use to their heart's content, and just make it so that if they're not capable of using and being productive citizens, they pay for their own funerals and can't reproduce.

    Wanna be a doper…? Fine, sign a contract here, and if you can't keep your shit together enough to be a productive citizen, we'll sterilize you for the good of the race, and subsidize your dope until you manage to kill yourself.

    Hell, I'd remove most of the allure by also advertising that we were using this policy to eliminate the dope-prone from society, with a sub-text that we're hoping to eliminate the various "minority" populations. Wouldn't be true, in my case at least, but the psychological effect? LOL… Watch the attraction for dope use in the black community dwindle to nothing. If I were president, I'd even go so far as to bring the dope dealers in those communities into the White House for awards ceremonies, thanking them for their service in the interest of furthering the black genocide…

    It's not something I believe in, but the effect of that? Yeah, watch what happens to dope dealers and the social allure of doing drugs in that demographic, after the first couple of ceremonies… "I want to thank you, Demetrious, for all the fine work you've done… Thanks to you, we've eliminated over a thousand young black lives in your fine city of Detroit…".

    Demetrious would be dead inside of a week, afterwards, and anyone looking to succeed his ass would likely follow.

    It's all about removing the transgressive nature of drug use, and making it socially unacceptable. Thank the rappers for destroying black culture, and making it easier to eliminate the black population, reducing it to penury and servitude? Watch the end of gangsta' rap follow.

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