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.

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in articles

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments left on articles are moderated about once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Readers are also encouraged to thoroughly study all the evidence available here at DonaldBest.CA, to perform independent research on the Internet and elsewhere, to consider all sides and to make up their own minds as to the events reported on DonaldBest.CA.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Domenic Violi arrest a reminder that Organized Crime has penetrated Canadian police for decades

Toronto Police clerk Erin Maranan charged in Mafia takedown (left) Corrupt OPP Detective Jim Van Allen (right)

  • Long History of Corrupt Hamilton & Toronto Police selling out to the mob.
  • Toronto Deputy Chief’s relative arrested for obtaining police data.
  • Toronto lawyers used corrupt Ontario Provincial Police detective to illegally access police records.

A four-year long joint RCMP/FBI project came to fruition last week with the arrest of Hamilton mobster Domenic Violi and a dozen other organized crime figures in Ontario and New York. Arrest warrants have been issued for several others on the run – including Violi’s younger brother Giuseppe (Joe) Violi. The brothers are the sons of former Calabrian Montreal boss Paolo Violi who was murdered by the Rizzuto mob in a 1978 hit.

Also making an appearance in Project OTremens are members of the New York-based Bonanno and Gambino crime families, including Bonanno capo Damiano Zummo and Gambino made man Paul Semplice.

Overshadowed by the high-profile Mafia types, however, is the connected arrest of former Toronto Police Forensic Identification clerk Erin Jade Maranan, who faces 24 criminal charges for providing confidential police information to organized crime.

Two of the people that Toronto Police clerk Erin Maranan provided information about to the mob were later murdered.

While there is no evidence that Maranan knew anything about the murders, it is reasonable to assume that any police employee would know that criminal organizations don’t seek confidential police information so they can send people Christmas cards.

If Erin Maranan is convicted she should be imprisoned for many years as a deterrent to other corrupt police personnel. As I revealed in my first article about her arrest, ‘More to this story than being told’ organized crime has always sought to gain inside information about police knowledge and operations.

“Organized Crime will never cease paying corrupt police to provide information and protection.”

Right from the start of my law enforcement career in 1975, I saw that there were always a few corrupt police officers and civilian employees willing to trade confidential information for money or other benefits. And the money is huge. Back in 1985 the Toronto Kung Lok Triad was paying my squad over a hundred-thousand dollars a year to protect a single gambling den from police raids. (We were in deep-cover pretending to be corrupt, took the money and then later arrested the mobsters. See here.)

That was 32 years ago and something tells me that the price of inside police information hasn’t gone down since then.

Hamilton Police on mob payroll

A few days ago Oakville-based private investigator Derrick Snowdy 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 Hamilton cop Richard WILLS. (You can read the documents below – click to enlarge. I’ve redacted the Identity Information even though the full documents are out there in the wild on the internet. I cannot vouch for their veracity. My source is Derrick Snowdy’s Twitter account @jdsnowdy )


In 2010 Hamilton Police Inspector Richard ‘Rick’ Wills pleaded guilty to stealing $60,000 of drug bust money but was sentenced to 2 years ‘conditional’ house arrest – a kiss of a sentence for a corrupt senior cop who violated a position of trust.

Wills is also a defendant in a 2016 lawsuit by former Hamilton undercover cop Paul Manning. Manning – who penetrated the Hamilton mob as a deep cover police investigator under the alias ‘Paul Wright’ – alleges that Wills sold out and notified the mob that Manning was an undercover cop.

Manning’s lawsuit also alleges that several Hamilton police officers have ties to organized crime and that a Toronto cop was selling guns to Toronto gang members. A Toronto Star article laid it all out: Hamilton cop alleges betrayal by his force

Manning’s Twitter account: @mobinfiltrator   Website: mobinfiltrator.com

Toronto Police employee Davita Federico charged with illegally accessing police databases

In October of 2016 Toronto Police civilian Davita Federico, 30, was charged with breach of trust and other criminal offences for conducting unauthorized searches of police databases. News reports confirmed that Federico is related to then Deputy Chief of Police Mike Federico.

The case resurfaced last week as it was revealed that Toronto Police clerk Erin Maranan who was arrested at about the same time as Federico, was working for organized crime. There is no indication in news reports as to whether the Maranan and Federico cases are related in any way.

Corrupt Ontario lawyers Sebastien Kwidzinski, Gerald Ranking & Lorne Silver lied to the courts.

Toronto Lawyers hired corrupt Ontario Provincial Police detective to illegally access police information, resources

In October of 2009, Faskens lawyers Gerald Ranking and Sebastien Kwidzinski contacted and hired a corrupt Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant to investigate the writer, Donald Best, in aid of Ranking’s clients and associated defendants in the ‘Nelson Barbados Group Ltd. vs. Cox’ civil case before the Ontario courts.

James ‘Jim’ Arthur Van Allen, the manager of the OPP’s elite Criminal Profiling Unit, secretly and illegally worked as an unlicensed private investigator for clients like lawyers Ranking and Kwidzinski who obviously appreciated his access to confidential police information, resources, contacts and investigative techniques.

And here, things get really corrupt and dirty. In 2007 it was reported to the Ontario Provincial Police that unknown persons, likely defendants in the Nelson Barbados Group Ltd. vs. Cox’ civil case, were threatening witnesses, lawyers and their family members in order to deter them from seeking justice in the courts.

Ranking and Kwidzinski’s clients and fellow defendants had been reported to the OPP as possible suspects involved in threatening witnesses, lawyers and their family members. Considering a lawyer’s family was being threatened, the reports probably even made their way to Van Allen’s Threats Assessment and Criminal Profiling Unit.

Nonetheless Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen took money to perform illegal investigations against the victim – in assistance to the suspects.

How dirty and corrupt is that?

Former OPP boss Julian Fantino

Former OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino swears affidavit

Jim Van Allen’s boss at the time, former OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino, recently swore an affidavit wherein he refers to Detective Sergeant James Van Allen and his illegal activities. Evidence in Julian Fantino’s sworn affidavit includes (summarized except verbatim excerpts in quotes):

  • “The prosecuting lawyers hired and submitted an affidavit from Mr. Van Allen. They claimed that he was a private investigator and failed to disclose that he was a serving police officer with access to police resources. This police officer obtained confidential information not available to the public which was then used by the Judge to convict, sentence and imprison Mr. Best for contempt.”
  • “Although the lawyers regularly referred to Van Allen as a ‘private investigator’ in their legal documents and on the court record in verbal submissions and discussions with the Judge, Jim Van Allen was not a licensed private investigator. James ‘Jim’ Arthur Van Allen, was in fact a serving Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant and manager of the OPP’s Criminal Profiling Unit who was working secretly and illegally as an unlicensed private investigator.”
  • “From my examination of the evidence that is already filed in court and was easily available to the courts and the CJC had they examined it, it is reasonable to conclude that OPP Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen’s inappropriate employment as a private investigator, his access to confidential information and the distribution of the same, and the very creation of his affidavit in order to benefit private parties in a civil lawsuit, represents a flagrant violation of various Provincial and Federal laws including the Police Services Act, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, the Criminal Code and the Freedom of Information Act.”
  • “In no small way, Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen violated his oath of office.”
  • “Detective Sergeant Van Allen’s conduct and behavior in relation to this case occurred while I was OPP Commissioner. Had I known about it at the time, I would have immediately ordered an investigation to gather all evidence to determine the details, extent and duration of his activities with a view to possible provincial and/or criminal charges against Van Allen and, potentially, charges against other involved persons.”
  • “It is inconceivable that all the involved lawyers and Judge were unaware that ‘private investigator’ and expert witness Jim Van Allen was an OPP police officer. Considering many factors, including Detective Sergeant Van Allen’s high public profile, the rules and normal vetting practices by lawyers and judges concerning Expert Witnesses, and the fact that Van Allen’s affidavit and redacted invoices were clearly suspect on their face to any ordinary person let alone lawyers and judges, it is unbelievable that nobody in that courtroom knew the truth about Van Allen or otherwise cared to find out.”
  • “I notice that Van Allen’s two redacted invoices are numbers 11 and 12 for the year 2009, which to me raises serious questions about how many other illegal investigations he had performed and which lawyer clients might have retained him previously. Had I known of his transgressions, I would have acted immediately as OPP Commissioner to deal with his rogue conduct.”

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in this article

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments left on articles are moderated at least once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Readers are also encouraged to thoroughly study all the evidence available here at DonaldBest.CA, to perform independent research on the Internet and elsewhere, to consider all sides and to make up their own minds as to the events reported on DonaldBest.CA.

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)