Six illegal cannabis storefronts dismantled and $1million of products seized

Six illegal cannabis storefronts have been closed after enforcement action by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-led Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET) in Niagara and the surrounding area. The illegal cannabis products and contraband tobacco seized have a value of approximately $1 million.

On June 5, 2024, members from the OPP-led PJFCET, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, OPP Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit, with assistance from the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) uniform members and NRPS Emergency Task Unit members, executed nine search warrants in the Niagara area, with a focus on shutting down six storefronts operating illegally under the name “Indige Smoke” located in Hamilton, Fort Erie, Thorold, Welland, St. Catharines and Leamington. “Indige Smoke” was not authorized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to sell cannabis or cannabis products. These illegal storefronts will be held under Interim Closure Orders as per section 18(1) of the Cannabis Control Act (CCA).

Persons with interest in any of the locations (including owners) who wish to enter these premises may apply to the Superior Court of Justice to get permission under section 18(4) of the CCA. Anyone who enters the buildings that are subject to interim closure may be arrested and charged with Break and Enter, under section 348(1) of the Criminal Code (CC).

As a result of the search warrants, the following items were seized:

  • More than $640,000 in illegal cannabis and illegal cannabis products
  • More than $350,000 in contraband tobacco
  • Approximately $29,000 CAD currency
  • Three handguns
  • One shotgun
  • Ammunition
  • Approximately two ounces of suspected cocaine
  • Digital scales
  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Video surveillance systems

Eleven individuals were arrested and charged with 34 offences contrary to the CC, the Cannabis Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Please refer to the Addendum of Charged Persons for a full list. The accused were released from custody and will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines on July 18, 2024.

Photos of evidence seized have been provided with the media release and B-roll is available on YouTube.

This investigation is ongoing. Any person with information regarding the illegal sale of cannabis should contact the OPP’s non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122. Alternatively, you can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or


“Cannabis remains a lucrative commodity for criminal networks. The Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team is focused on disrupting and charging criminal networks involved in the illegal cannabis trade in Ontario. Not only is it against the law to sell or purchase illegal cannabis, but consumers are faced with health risks that come from using untested and unregulated products.” – OPP Detective Inspector Anne Goodwin, Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau

About illegal Cannabis:  It is against the law to purchase cannabis from anywhere other than online through the Ontario Cannabis Store or an Ontario-authorized, licensed retail store.

Legal vs. Illegal Cannabis

  • Cannabis product packages are marked in consistent ways. Learn more about the product indicators of legal cannabis.
  • The use of illegal cannabis also increases personal risk. Learn more from the Government of Canada regarding the risks of illegal cannabis.
  • Individuals who purchase cannabis from an illegal source, whether it is a storefront, online or a dealer, are committing a crime.
  • Profits from illegal cannabis sales are often laundered to finance other criminal activities including illegal drugs, firearms and human trafficking.


The PJFCET is an OPP-led joint forces operation that includes members of the Niagara Regional Police Service, Durham Regional Police Service, London Police Service, Windsor Police Service, and the AGCO. The PJFCET’s role is to enforce and investigate illegal cannabis incidents and focus on the apprehension of those who produce, sell, distribute, import/export and use cannabis outside of the parameters of the law.