A two-year RCMP investigation has uncovered a Gatineau-based scheme to create fraudulent Canadian passports.
Harbi Gabad is alleged to have targeted drug addicts, offering them money and/or drugs to buy their personal identification. Gabad then used that ID to apply for passports with someone else’s picture.
The investigation uncovered thirteen applications. Five of them were intercepted. Eight of them were issued, many to known criminals or suspects.
Passport Canada used Facial Recognition Software to determine that people were using more than one passport with the same picture. RCMP then determined that many of the fraudulent passports originated in the Outaouais.
One was issued to Rabih (Robby) Alkhalil, a known Canadian drug kingpin wanted in connection with execution-style killings in both Toronto and Vancouver. Alkhalil was caught with his fraudulent passport in Greece, where he is now awaiting extradition.
Gabad faces ten charges related to identity theft, conspiracy and drugs.
Also charged is Joanne Arbique, also of Gatineau. She is alleged to have recruited people to sell their identities to Gabad.
RCMP Inspector Costa Dimopolous says Canadian passports can command anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 on the black market. “Canadian passports are very coveted,” says Dimopolous. “They’re recognized worldwide.”