- Last Updated: 6:31 AM, January 14, 2013
- Posted: 2:33 AM, January 14, 2013
A rogues’-gallery alliance among the Canadian Mafia, outlaw bikers and a Mexican drug cartel supplied New York City with nearly a billion dollars in marijuana until the feds crashed the party, according to authorities and new court documents.
And what a party it was.
French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer made enough dough for a jet-set lifestyle, complete with a stunning model girlfriend and parties that drew unwitting stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, sources told The Post.
A five-year probe by the DEA and police from Laval, Quebec, where Cournoyer once lived, revealed that his network allegedly specialized in growing and distributing potent hydroponic marijuana cultivated in British Columbia.
Cournoyer, now awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court, organized the “vast international drug-trafficking enterprise that has been in existence for more than a decade,’’ prosecutor Steven Tiscione wrote in recent court papers.
“The illegal narcotics distributed worldwide by members of the criminal enterprise have a retail value of more than $1 billion, conservatively,” Tiscione wrote to a federal judge.
Until his recent bust, Cournoyer, 33, tried to stay one step ahead of the law in Quebec by garaging his astronomically expensive Bugatti Veyron and instead tooling around town in a Porsche Cayenne to throw off Canadian police surveillance teams, sources said.
The Porsche belonged to the slick drug lord’s catwalk gal pal, Amelia Racine, a willowy Canadian-Brazilian brunette who has modeled in Europe, sources said.
Her jailed brother, Mario Racine, was allegedly the gang’s trusted lieutenant. He is now awaiting extradition to stand trial along with Cournoyer in Brooklyn, officials said.
One of Cournoyer’s biggest customers in New York City was reputed Bonanno crime-family associate John “Big Man” Venizelos, who is currently out on bail in the case, according to sources and the documents.
Looking less like an alleged mobster and more like a day trader with his Ralph Lauren pastels, nautical-flag belts, Polo loafers and horn-rimmed glasses, Venizelos keeps a downtown Manhattan pad and holds a “straight job” managing “Jaguars 3,”a Brooklyn nightspot, sources said.The club is overseen by Vincent “Vinny Green” Faraci, a reputed Bonanno soldier who formerly managed the “Crazy Horse Too” strip club in Las Vegas, the sources added.
Cournoyer was nabbed last spring after stepping off a jet in Mexico as a wanted man.
At the time, he refused to board a US-bound commercial plane to the States, throwing a series of tantrums right out of the Robert De Niro comedy “Midnight Run,” in which the main character fakes a panic attack.
Cornoyer’s antics forced a total of four plane changes over two days before he was eventually flown to New York City to await trial.
The pot supply under his domain was transported in motor homes and trucks across Canada with the help of the Hells Angels, officials said. The motorcycle gang and the Montreal mob then smuggled the pot from Quebec into upstate New York, authorities said. Trucks delivered it to a warehouse in Brooklyn, sources said.
Millions of dollars generated by the marijuana sales were eventually used to buy cocaine from Joaquin Guzmán Loera, the leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel — with the sale of the coke further financing the marijuana operation in Canada, feds say.
That coke was smuggled north into Canada where it was resold — with part of the profits underwriting the massive marijuana pipeline supplying New York City, according to sources and court documents.The enterprise relied on blood relations: Luc Cournoyer, Jimmy’s cousin, is now serving time after he was caught driving a motor home filled with pot, officials and sources said. Jimmy’s brother, Joey Cournoyer — seen in a Facebook photo partying with the unwitting DiCaprio in a bar in Europe — was a crew member who has not been charged yet, although the probe is ongoing, sources said. Also in the photo was Jimmy’s close pal, Ultimate Fighting world champ Georges St-Pierre.
Jimmy Cournoyer’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, promises a vigorous court battle. Venizelos’ lawyer, John Meringolo insisted that $100,000-plus found in his house by DEA agents isn’t drug cash.