StCatharinesStandard.ca, June 12, 2012

This article was originally published on www.stcatharinesstandard.ca, Thursday October 28, 2010

http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2012/06/12/jury-hears-of-duffel-bag-stuffed-with-cash

Jury hears of duffel bag stuffed with cash

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By Karena Walter
The Standard

ST. CATHARINES – A whopping $637,846 in cash stuffed in a gym bag and suitcase is the focus of a four-week drug trial involving two St. Catharines brothers that got underway Tuesday.

The stacks of money found by Niagara Regional Police were tested and allegedly contained trace amounts of cocaine.

“That’s what this case is about, money and cocaine,” assistant Crown attorney David King told jurors in St. Catharines Superior Court Tuesday.

Leonard Farinacci Jr. and Lucas Farinacci have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and possession of proceeds of crime.

A panel of jurors was chosen Monday and Tuesday, with the trial beginning Tuesday afternoon.

In his opening statement to the jury, King said stacks of money totalling $637,846 were found by Niagara police on Sept. 4, 2008.

The money was in a bag and suitcase inside a 2004 GMC Yukon registered to Lucas Farinacci’s wife, he said.

Over the course of the trial, he said jurors will hear police had a wiretap running and were listening to various phone conversations and conducting surveillance of individuals.

He said the surveillance and wiretap evidence will link members of the drug trade to the Farinacci brothers. Jurors will also hear from witnesses and see items police seized over the course of their investigation.

“This is a puzzle and there are lots of pieces to it,” King said. “When you put all of these pieces together, you’ll come to one conclusion: that Len Farinacci and Lucas Farinacci are guilty.”

Len Farinacci Jr., represented by lawyer Margaret Bojanowska, and Lucas Farinacci, who is representing himself, will be able to present their case later in the four-week trial.

The Crown’s first witness, Det. Sgt. Terry Thomson, testified he was part of a surveillance team following the black Yukon on Sept. 4, 2008. It was driven by a man — not one of the Farinacci brothers — and was pulled over by police just after 2:30 p.m. in St. Catharines.

Thomson said an orange duffel bag and a large suitcase were in the back, and there was a “huge” amount of money in each. Another officer had to use a money counter to go through it.

“We couldn’t count that much on our own,” Thomson said.

The bags were seized along with cellphones, and the driver was arrested.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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