RCMP charge man allegedly linked to drug trafficking rings around Winnipeg

Manitoba RCMP say they have arrested a man who they believe to be involved in high-level drug trafficking rings.

Mounties say 39-year-old James Robert McGirr from the RM of Springfield — just east of Winnipeg — is facing several charges following a federal RCMP investigation on illicit cannabis dating back to April 2021.

During the investigation, RCMP allege McGirr fraudulently acquired a Health Canada licence for a micro-grow operation.

From there, they say he was using legitimate personal Health Canada medical licences under the names of his associates to distribute the cannabis he was growing.

Investigators also claim he was laundering his profits and profits of others by converting cash to cryptocurrency.

Photo of equipment seized by RCMP during ProjectDecrypt. (Photo Credit: Manitoba RCMP)

The investigation led to 22 people being arrested in March 2022, and RCMP say they uncovered other drug networks that were connected. From there, an additional seven people were arrested.

In June and August 2023, police searched 11 properties in and around Winnipeg said to be linked to McGirr.

From the searches, police seized the following:

  • Over $3 million in property
  • Over $2 million in illicit cannabis
  • Close to $700,000 in drug and cryptocurrency equipment
  • Over $203,000 in lifestyle items
  • Over $15,000 in Canadian cash
  • Seven firearms
Photo of car seized by RCMP during ProjectDecrypt. (Photo Credit: Manitoba RCMP)

Since the searches, McGirr and seven others were taken into custody.

RCMP says McGirr is facing five Cannabis Act charges and five Criminal Code charges.

The other seven are facing various charges, including charges under the Cannabis Act.

“We see, through Project Divergent and Project Decrypt, how these networks feed off each other and are interconnected. We are not targeting legal users of cannabis. These large-scale operations are producing illicit product and feeding criminal networks, and the RCMP will continue to work tirelessly to disrupt those networks,” said Insp. Joe Telus, RCMP Intelligence Officer.

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