Ontario drug trafficking bust leads to 12 arrests
Xiaoli Li, CTV Toronto
Published Thursday, May 22, 2014 1:40PM EDT
A nine-month investigation into the trafficking of high grade methamphetamines and cocaine from Mexico into Canada has resulted in 12 arrests, Ontario Provincial Police revealed on Thursday.
The investigation focused on three criminal groups who were involved in the importation and distribution of illegal drugs including methamphetamines and cocaine.
Officials said the three groups were operating independently, but at least two of them were involved in importing drugs from Mexico into Canada.
"As a result of this investigation, the Ontario Provincial Police have charged 12 people with 49 offences, including charges relating to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as well as the Criminal Code of Canada," OPP Detective-Inspector Steve Clegg said at a news conference Thursday.
"Project Greymouth" was a collaborative effort between the OPP's Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Waterloo Regional Police and the Canadian Border Services Agency.
Some of the individuals charged have been identified as Mennonites, Clegg said, but authorities emphasized there appears to be no direct link between the arrests and the Mennonite community.
The groups were active in a number of communities including Oxford County, Norfolk County, Middlesex County, Waterloo Region and Toronto. Authorities executed 13 search warrants in early May 2014, including at least one in the City of Toronto.
The investigation resulted in the seizure of:
- 12 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $1.2 million,
- 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamines, with an estimated street value of $280,000,
- $89,955 in Canadian funds; and,
- $38,000 in American funds.
Police said the case was unusual due to the purity of the drugs involved, as the way in which the drugs entered Canada.
"Often the path is directly to Canada without intermediaries being used in the United States," OPP deputy commissioner Scott Tod said.
All of the suspects facing charges in connection to Project Greymouth are residents of Ontario.
Several have already appeared in court, but an arrest warrant has been issued for Peter Knelsen, who is believed to be out of the country.
Police said Project Greymouth is considered an ongoing investigation.