Manitoba

Ex-drug dealer involved in Winnipeg police building project

A man who Winnipeg police say has links to organized crime and has been convicted for drug trafficking is involved with the construction company building the city's new police headquarters, CBC News has learned.

Ray Rybachuk has links to street gangs, police claim in documents

Ray Rybachuk, seen in January 2011, is involved in all of Caspian Construction's projects, the company's president told CBC News on Wednesday. (CBC)

A man who Winnipeg police say has links to organized crime and has been convicted for drug trafficking is involved with the construction company building the city's new police headquarters, CBC News has learned.

The president of Caspian Construction, the main contractor involved in the $155-million police building project, confirmed that Ray Rybachuk is a key partner in all of its projects.

Caspian is working on converting the former Canada Post building on Graham Avenue, which will become the Winnipeg Police Service's new headquarters, replacing the Public Safety Building on Princess Street.

Rybachuk was the subject of a risk assessment by the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP and was named in 2010 by Manitoba's Criminal Intelligence Section as a "Top 10 threat," CBC News has learned.

According to one police intelligence document, a police inspector said Rybachuk has links to the Hells Angels and the Zig Zag Crew, two street gangs operating in the city.

But officials with Mayor Sam Katz's office say they have been told that Rybachuk is not involved in the police headquarters project.

As for the Winnipeg Police Service, it says it conducts "due diligence with regard to all individuals who work for or assist" the force.

"There is nothing to suggest that Mr. Rybachuk is involved in Caspian projects and the renovation of the new police headquarters," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that police spoke to the owner of the construction company on Wednesday and he confirmed that to them.

Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said he is concerned with the link between Rybachuk and construction of the new police headquarters.

"There is an expectation of integrity and security of the premise in relation to a police facility," he said.

"There [are] vulnerabilities; there may be access to blueprints information."

Court documents reveal that Rybachuk has prior convictions for assault, trafficking narcotics and obstructing justice.

Police intelligence documents call Rybachuk "an unscrupulous businessman who manipulates the deeds and titles of upwards of 100 city properties."

Rybachuk declined comment to CBC News on Wednesday.

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