Police and border services rescue victims of human trafficking ring

June 13, 2023
London, Ontario

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), with the assistance of several policing partners and non-government agencies, dismantled a human trafficking ring that was operating across Southwestern Ontario.

Early in 2023 the RCMP, working with the London Police Service and the CBSA Criminal Investigations Sections in both the Southern Ontario and Greater Toronto Area regions, launched an investigation dubbed OExplorer.

Throughout the investigation, evidence revealed that the suspects were advertising internationally for labourers to work in Canada. Upon arrival, the labourers were placed at local businesses across Southwestern Ontario. It is alleged that their travel documents were taken from them, they were paid sub-standard wages, and their living conditions bordered on inhumane.

On June 8, 2023, search warrants were executed at multiple businesses and residences across Southwestern Ontario. Investigators rescued 31 victims who were being criminally exploited by the accused. Police have also implemented restraints on associated bank accounts, seized a number of electronic devices, documents, and vehicles as property related to these offences.

Eduardo Silva Cardozo and Herbert Navarrete Santos of London were arrested and have been charged by both the RCMP and the CBSA with multiple offences:

Eduardo Silva Cardozo (age 43)

  • Human Trafficking contrary to Section 279.01(1) of the Criminal Code;
  • Material Benefit, contrary to Section 279.02(1) of the Criminal Code;
  • Withholding Documents, contrary to Section 279.03(1) of the Criminal Code;
  • Proceeds of Crime, contrary to Section 462.31(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, contrary to Section 354(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Uttering Threats, contrary to Section 264.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Conspiracy to Commit Offences, contrary to Section 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code;
  • Employing a Foreign National, contrary to Section 124(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and
  • Counselling Misrepresentation, contrary to contrary to Section 126 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Herbert Navarrete Santos (age 42)

  • Human Trafficking contrary to Section 279.01(1) of the Criminal Code;
  • Material Benefit, contrary to Section 279.02(1) of the Criminal Code;
  • Sexual Assault, contrary to section 271 of the Criminal Code;
  • Proceeds of Crime, contrary to Section 462.31(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, contrary to Section 354(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Conspiracy to Commit Offences, contrary to Section 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code;
  • Employing a Foreign National, contrary to Section 124(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and

Both accused were held in custody after their initial arrest. Their next court date will be held at 80 Dundas Street, London Ontario. Eduardo Silva Cardozo will be on June 13, 2023 and Herbert Navarrete Santos will be on June 14 at 9 am.

The RCMP and CBSA would like to recognize London Police Service, York Regional Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Ministry of Labour, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG), and the non-government agencies who provided victim supports.

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