THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Police searching a home in northern Ontario have literally uncovered a whopping $1.2 million in cash buried outside.
The enormous sum of money in denominations of $20 and higher was found Tuesday buried 20 to 25 centimetres underground in a large Tupperware-like container.
At first, the officers at the scene couldn’t quite believe what they had discovered.
“They were flabbergasted, to say the least,” said Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Lawrence of the provincial police.
“I think if you look at the seizures across the province you wouldn’t see more than a handful over the course of a year that would be at this level.”
The search at the home just outside Thunder Bay also yielded 120 grams of cocaine, 50 ecstasy tablets and almost 500 grams of marijuana, police said.
Police allege the money in the container is the profits of crime.
“It would be our experience when you’re finding sums of money of that nature buried on a property in close proximity to contraband, that wouldn’t be what the average, law-abiding citizen would do,” Lawrence said.
“Most legitimate people keep money in banks or safety deposit boxes.”
Marcel Breton, 44, and Joseph Timmermans, 24, both from Thunder Bay, are charged with three counts each of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and unauthorized possession of a weapon.
They are being held in custody pending bail hearings.
The provincial police organized crime enforcement bureau is involved in the investigation and Lawrence said it’s possible a gang may have just taken a $1.2-million hit.
“It’s premature to make a concrete statement to that effect, but you would suspect that that sum of money, you’d likely have more than one person involved,” he said.
Ontario Provincial Police, Thunder Bay police, the RCMP and the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service took part in the search.