Leaked police report: Hamilton City Councillor Sam Merulla & former Police Board Chair linked with organized crime, ‘Ndrangheta mafia

Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla and Musitano brothers in leaked police secret report. (montage – click for large.)

Whistleblower Derrick Snowdy reveals mob penetration of Hamilton Police Service.

A leaked 2006 Organized Crime Section report from ‘Project SCOPA’ shows City of Hamilton, Ontario, Ward 4 Councillor Sam MERULLA under police investigation and linked to ‘Ndrangheta mafia mob figures including Antonio ‘Tony’ AGRESTA and the recently-murdered Angelo MUSITANO of the Musitano Crime Family.

Two pages of the leaked report surfaced on the Twitter account of high-profile private investigator Derrick Snowdy (@jdsnowdy) on December 19, 2017 along with an allegation that in 2007 someone in the Golden Horseshoe RCMP detachment sabotaged an ongoing OPP Ontario Provincial Police investigation into Sam Merulla and members of the mob.

Snowdy states that at the time of the investigation in 2006 Sam Bernie Morelli was the Chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board and was also under police investigation.

Snowdy’s tweet and the attached unredacted documents have been seen (and perhaps copied) by thousands of people in the last four days before I even noticed them.

Here they are… (click to enlarge)

Although the unredacted documents are circulating on the Internet, I have redacted addresses and dates of birth in the above documents as I have a policy of not publishing Identity Information.

You will note that document #1 contains a bleed-through of a police intelligence report listing Sam MERULLA, Angelo MUSITANO and others as associates of mob member Antonio ‘Tony’ AGRESTA. Document #2 shows Merulla with the Musitano brothers.

About a month ago Derrick Snowdy also published on the internet several pages of a July 24, 2002 Halton Regional Police confidential intelligence report detailing how mobsters Domenic VIOLI and Paul GRAVELLE had a number of police officers on the payroll, including corrupt Hamilton cop Richard WILLS. (read Domenic Violi arrest a reminder that Organized Crime has penetrated Canadian police for decades)

Police to search home of Whistleblower Derrick Snowdy?

Snowdy has given no indication as to the source of these confidential police intelligence reports, but in November 2017 the Halton Regional Police stated that they were looking into the matter.

This latest release will no doubt cause further police scrutiny of Derrick Snowdy but if the involved police services are thinking of executing a search warrant at Snowdy’s home or business – I can tell them with certainty that they would find nothing.

I have never spoken with Derrick Snowdy, but knowing his history as an experienced investigator in major cases and that he was a central figure in the 2010 ‘Busty Hookers’ case that saw former Status of Women minister Helena Guergis turfed from the Harper Government and the Conservative party – I know that Snowdy is no neophyte.

Derrick Snowdy

Any leaked documents in Snowdy’s possession would at the very least not be at his home, business or the home of any relative or close friend. Most likely, the documents are scanned, encrypted and stored in multiple locations online that only he can access from memory. He would never access those locations from any computer or internet service registered to him or any friend or relative. There would be nothing at his home or business – not even an encrypted USB stick or drive – that would reveal any additional documents or their source.

Whistleblower Derrick Snowdy would conceal his movements and data with the concern and even the fear of someone championing freedom in any corrupt nation you can think of BECAUSE… he knows that in Canada various powerful cabals exist. Snowdy knows that some of these powerful cabals operate in Canada’s legal system, in policing, and in various levels of government. He also knows that these cabals will do anything to protect members from embarrassment or worse, and to retain power and status. The messenger of any wrongdoing by cabal members, in this case Snowdy, is aways the first target.

Snowdy also knows that organized crime always attempts to gain footholds and influence in legitimate organizations, including in government, police, the courts and the news media. He knows he is at risk and a target for revealing mob operations to the public.

Nope… there is nothing at Derrick Snowdy’s home or business that would reveal more leaked police documents or the source of the leak. Nothing.

Whistleblowing at this level takes a special kind of courage and integrity – and Derrick Snowdy has these qualities in good measure – along with ‘Police Officer X’ who must be the ultimate source of the documents.

‘Police Officer X’ probable source of the Snowdy leaked documents

It is apparent that the Snowdy documents (assuming they are genuine and I have no reason to believe they are not genuine) are likely originally sourced from a police officer who works or worked in an Organized Crime squad. As each of the documents was probably circulated through various municipal police agencies as well as the Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP, it will probably be impossible to trace the individual officer who originally leaked the documents.

I’ll call this source ‘Police Officer X’. Snowdy may have received these documents directly from Officer X, or through an intermediary. Or… Police Officer X might have anonymously sent them to Snowdy through a variety of methods.

I can only speculate as to the motivations of Police Officer X, but here is my guess…

Police Officer X is probably a long-serving officer working in organized crime who has seen over the years (as we all have) the efforts of organized crime to corrupt the police, courts and the government. He or she has seen good investigations thwarted and exposed. Officer X has seen criminals and mobsters go free as cabals stopped investigations to protect high-profile cabal members from being seen to be associated with known criminals.

So… I speculate Officer X did an end-run and leaked the documents because he or she believes that only the sunlight of exposure will undermine the corrupt. It takes courage and integrity to make such a choice. Officer X has these qualities.

Caution regarding Ward 4 Councillor Sam MERULLA

Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla

As we examine the leaked documents, we must remember that we have only had a glimpse of a years-long project targeting organized crime. Is the man who changes the oil in a mobster’s car an associate… or just the guy who works at the local garage? As a police officer working organized crime you have to keep an open mind and rely upon building a wall of evidence that leaves no doubt as to the structure of criminal organizations, the members, associates, facilitators – and identifying those who aren’t really involved or associated. It is difficult. Sometimes you can’t be sure no matter how long you work at it.

As an experienced organized crime investigator, it is my opinion that for Sam Merulla’s photo and name to be so definitively featured in the organized crime intelligence reports, some supporting evidence must exist. That’s my opinion – but am I correct? Perhaps the missing pages of the Snowdy documents hold the answer. Or perhaps Sam Merulla can clarify things.

And yet… I was once investigated myself (and cleared) by the FBI, RCMP and Toronto Police for links to the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Gang.

The year was 1977 and I was a motorcycle patrol officer working out of #2 District Traffic in Etobicoke. During that summer I was temporarily assigned to the CNE Canadian National Exhibition to direct traffic and patrol the grounds on my Harley Davidson. (As an aside, there is no better summer job for a 23 year old handsome rookie cop than to motor around the CNE, looking good and talking with tourists and the fine young ladies.)

One afternoon some American tourists asked to take photos with me beside my motorcycle. This was common and happened uncountable times a day. So, I held their four year old son and allowed him to wear my helmet as one of their friends took a series of photos. Smiling, we had our arms around each other and I also allowed everyone to sit on the Toronto Police Harley dresser. That was standard too – as people loved to have their and their children’s photos taken on a police bike. The kids go wild.

Flash forward about a year. I reported for duty and was immediately taken into a room with some very serious people – including Inspector Clay Crawford (my unit commander), a Staff Sergeant from the Intelligence Bureau, and officers from the FBI and RCMP. They wanted to know why US police raided a Hell’s Angels club house and discovered a large framed photo of yours truly, in uniform, smiling with my arms draped around a Hell’s Angels gang leader and his family.

As I looked at the photo I started to laugh and told my story. One of the serious people in the room said something like, “Yeah, that’s what we figured, but we had to be sure. Your name didn’t come up on the lines. (wiretaps)”

Another serious person interupted and stopped the conversation – chiding that the first had revealed a wiretap operation and that was not needed. Did the RCMP tap my home phone? I think they did, but in those days there was no law requiring police to notify wiretap subjects if no charges were laid.

So ended the investigation into my ‘association’ with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.

No response from Sam Merulla

I’ve emailed Mr. Merulla and sent him a draft of this story, but so far have not had a response – but it’s Christmas so who knows if he viewed my email yet. I’ll send another.

Did Sam Merulla unknowingly have his photo taken with members of Hamilton’s mafia? Is that how his name and photo ended up in a police Organized Crime report? Or, is there another, deeper set of facts?

Let’s all keep open minds as we await a response from Hamilton Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article reported that Hamiliton City Councillor Sam Merulla was Police Board Chair during the police investigation. Derrick Snowdy has clarified his original Tweet and indicates that Merulla was a Councillor during the investigation, while Bernie Morelli was the Chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board at the time. According to Snowdy, both Merulla and Morelli were under investigation.

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Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

More to this story than being told: Toronto Police clerk charged with illegally accessing confidential files

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Toronto Police

In 1985, my squad executed a search warrant at the home of a member of organized crime and discovered that Chinatown’s Luen Kung Lok Triad gang was receiving confidential Toronto Police Intelligence Bureau surveillance reports shortly after they were filed – sometimes within hours of the report creation.

In that case, corrupt Toronto Police personnel were making thousands of dollars a month providing outsiders with illegal access to police information, resources and investigative techniques.

I was one of four officers quietly inserted into 52 Plainclothes squad with secret orders from Chief Marks to put a stop to the corruption. We worked in a station of several hundred police officers who were not aware of our undercover mission.

We spent almost a year pretending to be corrupt –  taking bribes, enjoying free meals, free booze and partying with organized crime while secretly recording everything for the big takedown.

We had to bring our own ‘girlfriends’ to the parties because otherwise it would look suspicious when we refused the gang offers of women. Our ‘girlfriends’ and ‘squad groupies’ were, of course, undercover female police officers playing the role. Although Julian Fantino (who went on to become Chief of Police and then Associate Minister of Defense) briefly covered the investigation in his biography ‘Duty’ – the project deserves it’s own book. I’ll put that on my do list.

Here is an October 26, 1988 Toronto Star report of one of the trials in that case. You’ll note that accused Wilson Wong named two Toronto Police “friends” at 52 Division (downtown) who “are no longer on the Metro force”. Yes, there is still lots to be told about Project Winky. (click photo for large)


Here we are thirty years later and the quest to illegally access and benefit from confidential police information continues.

Toronto Police yesterday charged a civilian employee with a total of 24 crimes involving illegal access to police databases, saying that the searches made by the accused, Erin Maranan 28 years old of Thornhill, Ontario, were not for “official police business”. (Toronto Star Toronto Police forensics clerk charged with illegally accessing files)

I only know what I’ve read in the news media, and the court has imposed a publication ban on the proceedings – but that doesn’t stop us from making some informed observations and analysis of the available information.

Much more to this case than presently being told

This case is possibly much more than a civilian employee looking up background on her lover or her husband’s mistress. Some indicators:

  • The accused worked as a clerk in the Forensic Identification Service. As such, she had access to special databases and information that are not even directly accessible to most police officers. She might even have had the ability to alter information. The duties of a forensic cleck include “processing, searching, comparing and identifying fingerprints for crime-scene identification and criminal record purposes, providing professional photographic and digital imaging services to all units, and maintaining section files.”
  • The accused is also charged with personation – pretending to be someone else to gain a benefit. I speculate that this involves logging into the system as another police employee, perhaps even as a police officer. As an alternative, she could have been accessing Identity Information and commiting fraud.
  • The accused is charged with perjury, although we don’t know under what circumstances. That is serious business – a straight indictable criminal offence with a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
  • The accused is charged with 23 counts of Breach of Trust between February and September 2014. Whatever the circumstances, this means that her actions were planned, not spontaneous, and that she knew she was committing a series of criminal offences.

It is good to see the Professional Standards Unit of the Toronto Police taking this illegal access to confidential police data by an employee most seriously.

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

This is a different response than taken by the Ontario Provincial Police when one of their senior Detective Sergeants illegally worked as a private investigator for clients that included suspects in the threatening of witnesses. In that disgusting case involving now-retired Detective Sergeant James (Jim) Van Allen, the OPP Professional Standards Unit covered up and whitewashed lawbreaking by their long-time colleague. (See Canadian police expertise, information and resources illegally sold to major law firms)

Allard Prize winners know that fighting corruption is a dangerous business

You can do something important in the fight against corruption.

At zero risk to yourself and to your family… YOU can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

After almost 40 years spent interacting with ordinary people, the police, the legal profession and the courts in one way or another, I truly believe that most people are good at their core.

Really evil people are a minority in our society, and, I firmly believe, are a minority in any society.

Most people have integrity. They know in their heart – they feel in their heart – what is right and wrong and they try to do the correct thing; but… only when integrity is an easy choice.

To do what is right when the pressure is on, when your employer or a powerful group wants you to compromise or ignore what you know is right… that takes more than integrity. It takes courage.

Courage: that is where most good people fail the test.

Most of us do not have that kind of courage. That is a hard truth and one of the reasons why groups of corrupt people can sway societal systems and exert influence totally out of proportion to their numbers and actual strength.

Yet, sometimes all it takes is one courageous person to stand firm and declare that they will not do this or that for their employer. They will not deliver false evidence or ignore the truth in the face of powerful government officials.

But such decisions carry a price.

Sometimes the price of integrity is relatively modest: Professor John Knox of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados was warned to stop testifying in a certain court case or he would be fired. Professor Knox testified and soon found himself unemployed – fired from the University. Then he was abducted from the family home at gunpoint and beaten severely… but at least he still lives.

Sometimes the price of integrity is high: Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky refused to ‘confess’ to crimes and to falsely implicate others. For his defiance, corrupt police imprisoned him and then beat him to death in his solitary confinement jail cell. As corrupt as the murderous police were, they were only the instruments of a larger corrupt cabal that extended high into the Russian government.

And lest my readers receive the impression that serious corruption only happens ‘over there’, I clearly state that in Canada and in the United States, just like everywhere else, integrity is sometimes rewarded – but most often is punished when ruling groups are exposed or threatened.

Integrity is easy. Courage is the hard part.

Please watch my latest video, and then do your part to fight corruption. You can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity – one of the world’s most prestigious and richest prizes for anti-corruption and integrity.

Here is the online prize criteria and nomination form.