Hamilton police officers allegedly aided accused mobster, leaked report reveals

Hamilton police officers were allegedly helping an accused mobster who is facing drug trafficking charges avoid arrest, according to a leaked confidential police report from 2002.
Domenic Violi, 51, was charged in connection with an organized crime investigation last week. (RCMP)

A leaked police intelligence report from 2002 alleges Hamilton police officers helped an accused mobster avoid arrest.

That mobster was 51-year-old Domenico Violi, who was charged in a massive organized crime investigation last week. 

The Halton police service report says 51-year-old Domenico Violi was being fed information by local police officers. The documents also mention the Gravelle Crime Family, which has been linked to drug activity in the city for decades.

"Domenic Violi of Hamilton (son of Paolo Violi formerly of Montreal — deceased) and Paul Gravelle of the Gravelle Crime Family in Hamilton have a number of serving police officers providing intelligence and assistance avoiding prosecution for crimes committed," the report reads.

According to a confidential source quoted in the report, a Hamilton police officer has been "providing information to [traditional organized crime] and others since the late 80s."

The report also quotes the source saying one of the officers who provided information was a senior officer of the service.

Hamilton police chief Eric Girt said the service had no formal statement and didn't plant to take any immediate action.

"It's 15 years old," said Girt. "The report is Halton's, so it's theirs to deal with, both in the integrity of the document and whether it's bona fide or not. I don't know. It's not our document."

"We have to find out the veracity of it in the first place, and I don't know that it hasn't already been looked into."

He said the service was awaiting more information from Halton police and the RCMP.

Police Board Chair Lloyd Ferguson said he was not aware of the report.

Halton police issued a statement about the document.

"We are looking into the validity of the documents and working with our counterparts to identify the source of this information," Sgt. Dana Nicholas of Halton police in a statement.

Investigation 'infiltrated the highest levels of traditional organized crime'

Private investigator Derrick Snowdy posted excerpts from the report online after news of Violi's arrest broke last week.

Snowdy, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, made claims that led to former Conservative MP Helena Guergis's resignation from cabinet several years ago.

Snowdy said in a 2010 interview that he was investigating Nazim Gillani Gillani, a Toronto business promoter, when allegations arose of cocaine use and offshore tax evasion involving Jaffer and Guergis, who was then expelled from Tory caucus.

Police say these drugs and weapons seized in the course of "Project Otremens," which was announced last week. As part of the investigation, undercover officers purchased six kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil. (Martin Trainor/CBC News)

Violi was one of nine people who were arrested last week and charged with multiple drug-related offences following an investigation conducted by the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and the Toronto, Peel and York police services. 

His younger brother, Giuseppe Violi, was also arrested.

The investigation "directly infiltrated the highest levels of traditional organized crime operating in the area," said Supt. Chris Leather of the RCMP at a news conference last week.

75 charges laid

Search warrants were carried out around the GTA, in southern Ontario, and in Montreal with the help of several other municipal police forces, including Hamilton, Halton and Montreal.

In all, 75 charges were laid, including trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, and methemphetamines. Weapons and tobacco charges were also laid, and large quantities of contraband tobacco and illegal drugs were seized.

Leather called the targets the investigation "well-known organized crime members."

The operation was conducted alongside a parallel investigation carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New York City to infiltrate the Bonanno and Gambino crime families. Several arrests were made in New York City as well.

The investigation, said Michael McGarrity of the FBI, "unearthed and dug up the roots of a partnership extending from New York City to Buffalo and Toronto to Montreal, proving once again that Italian organized crime groups have evolved far beyond the neighbourhood cliques of days gone by."


About the Author

Adam Carter


Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.