A Montrealer, who has been detained in Ontario with a million dollars in cash in his car, was recently arrested at the request of the United States with a view to his extradition for laundering millions of dollars in dirty money.
Mark Zirkind, 57, is believed to be part of a group of drug traffickers and money launderers who embezzled hundreds of millions of US dollars.
“Mendy” Zirkind appeared in court in Montreal on Thursday. He remains detained pending his release hearing, which will take place in the coming days.
His organization operates in particular in Canada but also in New York, California, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Israel, according to an affidavit filed as evidence by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The investigation carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) between 2017 and 2020, initiated by a member of the group who became an informant, made it possible to trace the various actors.
The Orthodox Jewish man alone is said to have laundered approximately US$4.4 million. He also involved his brother Zalmund and his son Benzion in this scheme, as mentioned in the summary of facts in support of the money laundering charges against him in New York.
Her brother received a seven-year prison sentence in 2021, and her son received a one-year sentence in the United States.
According to the DEA, Mark Zirkind coordinated the money laundering operations with the police informant. Then, Zirkind or members of his family “received large sums of money and sometimes sent photographs of the money,” it said.
This photo of money collected was sent by Zalmund Zirkind to a DEA informant in 2018.
DEA agents saw Mark Zirkind receiving a large brown plastic bag in Brooklyn in 2018. Text messages consulted by the American federal agency show that Zirkind allegedly transferred 170,000 US dollars received from a Canadian account to another located in Hong Kong.
Mark Zirkind is now facing justice in Canada after being caught with $1.1 million in his rental car during a trip between Toronto and Montreal in February 2014.
He was originally stopped by a patrol officer for simply speeding on Highway 401. But officers found bags full of bills, in addition to traces of cocaine throughout the vehicle.
Found guilty in 2017, he appealed the case, saying he did not know the money in his car was the proceeds of the crime.