I provided two versions of this story. One I translated from Proceso today, and the other is the original 'technicolor' New York Post version. Relish the different journalism styles. I bet readers prefer the Proceso "no nonsense style." Links provided as always below.
MEXICO CITY - In complicity with a motorcycle gang known as the Hells Angels and the Canadian Mafia, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman introduced marijuana to New York for the past 10 years, an operation that generated more than one billion dollars.
A five-year investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that the network is led by Jimmy Cournoyer a French- Canadian, as published in the New York Post.
U.S. authorities and police in Laval, Quebec, where Cournoyer once lived, supposedly dismantled a network specializing in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana hydroponically, harvested in British Columbia.
Cournoyer had a jet-set lifestyle, a supermodel girlfriend and threw parties which unsuspecting celebrities attended, even Leonardo DiCaprio.
The marijuana was transported in vans and mobile homes across Canada with the help of the Hells Angels, authorities stressed.
Montreal mafia and Hells Angels transported drugs to New York, where trucks would take them to a warehouse in Brooklyn, according to the investigation published by the American newspaper.
"The illegal narcotics distributed by members of this criminal enterprise had an estimated value of over one billion dollars, conservatively speaking," said attorney Steven Tiscione in court documents.
According to research, the millions of dollars generated by the sale of Cournoyer's marijuana was used to purchase cocaine from Joaquin Guzman Loera, El Chapo, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, federal authorities say.
Later, with the sale of cocaine refinanced the marijuana operation.
The purchased cocaine shipments from El Chapo were trafficked into Canada, where it was resold, and parti of the proceeds was destined for the network that brought marijuana to the Big Apple, reveals the New York Post .
Jimmy Cournoyer was arrested in the spring of last year when he was disembarking from a plane in Cancun, Quintana Roo, because he was black listed by U.S. authorities.
Mexican authorities were able to put him on a flight back to Canada with a stop in Houston, after trying three times.
When Cournoyer landed on American soil, elements of the DEA arrested him and now faces trial on charges of drug dealing in New York.
The original New York Post version
A rogues’-gallery alliance among the Canadian Mafia, outlaw bikers and a Mexican drug cartel supplied New York City with nearly a billion dollars in marijuana until the feds crashed the party, according to authorities and new court documents.
And what a party it was.
French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer made enough dough for a jet-set lifestyle, complete with a stunning model girlfriend and parties that drew unwitting stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, sources told The Post.
A five-year probe by the DEA and police from Laval, Quebec, where Cournoyer once lived, revealed that his network allegedly specialized in growing and distributing potent hydroponic marijuana cultivated in British Columbia.
Cournoyer, now awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court, organized the “vast international drug-trafficking enterprise that has been in existence for more than a decade,’’ prosecutor Steven Tiscione wrote in recent court papers.
“The illegal narcotics distributed worldwide by members of the criminal enterprise have a retail value of more than $1 billion, conservatively,” Tiscione wrote to a federal judge.
Until his recent bust, Cournoyer, 33, tried to stay one step ahead of the law in Quebec by garaging his astronomically expensive Bugatti Veyron and instead tooling around town in a Porsche Cayenne to throw off Canadian police surveillance teams, sources said.
The Porsche belonged to the slick drug lord’s catwalk gal pal, Amelia Racine, a willowy Canadian-Brazilian brunette who has modeled in Europe, sources said.
Her jailed brother, Mario Racine, was allegedly the gang’s trusted lieutenant. He is now awaiting extradition to stand trial along with Cournoyer in Brooklyn, officials said.
One of Cournoyer’s biggest customers in New York City was reputed Bonanno crime-family associate John “Big Man” Venizelos, who is currently out on bail in the case, according to sources and the documents.
Looking less like an alleged mobster and more like a day trader with his Ralph Lauren pastels, nautical-flag belts, Polo loafers and horn-rimmed glasses, Venizelos keeps a downtown Manhattan pad and holds a “straight job” managing “Jaguars 3,”a Brooklyn nightspot, sources said.The club is overseen by Vincent “Vinny Green” Faraci, a reputed Bonanno soldier who formerly managed the “Crazy Horse Too” strip club in Las Vegas, the sources added.
Cournoyer was nabbed last spring after stepping off a jet in Mexico as a wanted man.
At the time, he refused to board a US-bound commercial plane to the States, throwing a series of tantrums right out of the Robert De Niro comedy “Midnight Run,” in which the main character fakes a panic attack.
Cornoyer’s antics forced a total of four plane changes over two days before he was eventually flown to New York City to await trial.
The pot supply under his domain was transported in motor homes and trucks across Canada with the help of the Hells Angels, officials said. The motorcycle gang and the Montreal mob then smuggled the pot from Quebec into upstate New York, authorities said. Trucks delivered it to a warehouse in Brooklyn, sources said.
Millions of dollars generated by the marijuana sales were eventually used to buy cocaine from Joaquin Guzmán Loera, the leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel — with the sale of the coke further financing the marijuana operation in Canada, feds say.
That coke was smuggled north into Canada where it was resold — with part of the profits underwriting the massive marijuana pipeline supplying New York City, according to sources and court documents.The enterprise relied on blood relations: Luc Cournoyer, Jimmy’s cousin, is now serving time after he was caught driving a motor home filled with pot, officials and sources said. Jimmy’s brother, Joey Cournoyer — seen in a Facebook photo partying with the unwitting DiCaprio in a bar in Europe — was a crew member who has not been charged yet, although the probe is ongoing, sources said. Also in the photo was Jimmy’s close pal, Ultimate Fighting world champ Georges St-Pierre.
Jimmy Cournoyer’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, promises a vigorous court battle. Venizelos’ lawyer, John Meringolo insisted that $100,000-plus found in his house by DEA agents isn’t drug cash.