Numerous arrests, nearly 700 kilograms of meth production drug seized in 'Project Dos'
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:36AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 1:20PM EDT
Police have seized nearly 700 kilograms of a medication that is used in the production of crystal methamphetamine; an amount that the head of the organized crime enforcement team says is “unprecedented” in his time on the force.
At a news conference at police headquarters on Thursday, Supt. Steve Watts said that investigators began looking into a group of individuals believed to be trafficking high volumes of cocaine several months ago.
He said that as the investigation progressed, police received information indicating that the individuals were involved in a “high level distribution ring capable of generating profits in the millions of dollars.”
On April 25, a total of 29 search warrants were then executed at addresses, storage, lockers and vehicles tied to the suspects in Toronto, Vaughan, Kitchener and Stoney Creek.
During the execution of those search warrants police seized 29 kilograms of powdered cocaine with a street value of approximately $3 million and 3,905 illegally grown marijuana plants with a street value of about $10 million.
Police also seized nearly 700 kilograms of the medication ephedrine that they say was likely “destined” for a clandestine lab or labs and 20 kilograms of the drug phenacetin, which is relatively inexpensive and is used as a cutting agent in powdered cocaine.
The ephedrine seizure is believed to be the largest in Toronto Police Service history.
“This amount of ephedrine is totally unprecedented in my time in drug enforcement, which is about three decades,” Watts said. “It gives you an idea of the market for that illicit substance (crystal methamphetamine) moving forward.”
Police say that the amount of ephedrine that was seized would have a street value of about $2.1 million and would be
enough to manufacture 490 kilograms of illegal methamphetamines.
While no lab was located, police say that that amount of ephedrine seized could only be used in the largescale production of methamphetamine.
“This started out as a cocaine investigation and as we investigated we discovered that these individuals were involved in more than powdered cocaine sales. This investigation is by no means concluded and I will leave it at that,” Insp. Don Belanger said during Thursday’s news conference.
Police said that a significant portion of the seized contraband was found in condo storage lockers that were more or less used as “stash houses.”
The marijuana, meanwhile, was found at a grow-op in Kitchener. Police say that the facility was licensed by Health Canada to produce marijuana for medicinal purposes but exceeded its allowable growing limit by “an astounding 3,905 plants.”
“Based on a conservative estimate that one marijuana plant can produce roughly 250 grams of dried marijuana, 3,905 plants have the potential to generate profits of approximately $10 million,” Belanger said.
A total of eight suspects are facing a combined 24 charges in connection with the bust.