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Police dismantle 'large-scale drug distribution ring' operating in Toronto and Windsor
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 5:55AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:52PM EDT
Police in Windsor and Toronto said they have seized $550,000 in cash and fentanyl, as well as cocaine and pills worth ten times that amount, last month throughout an investigation dubbed “Project Oz.”
Speaking during a news conference held on Wednesday morning in Toronto, Insp. Don Belanger said the bust involved eight people who allegedly used sophisticated trap doors inside vehicles to shuttle drugs and hundreds of thousands of dollars between Windsor, Brampton and Toronto.
On June 27, officers said they searched eight homes and six vehicles and found 24 kilograms of cocaine, 2.5 kilograms of the deadly opioid fentanyl, 100 skin fentanyl patches, crack cocaine and as many as 2,000 codeine pills.
They also located five loaded semi-automatic handguns, one revolver and three overcapacity magazines, including a Glock extended magazine capable of holding 30 rounds at a time.
Officers also seized a total of 238 rounds of ammunition.
Belanger called the group “high-level” and said they had a significant role in supplying lower level dealers across the Greater Toronto Area.
“It is our allegation that they are organized criminals who choose to profit on the addition and misfortune of others,” he said.
Along with secret trap doors, Belanger alleged one of the vehicles used to smuggle drugs had a small roof crevasse where a small amount of cocaine could be concealed.
He added that the fentanyl seized, which can be cut down to individual “point” doses of 0.1 gram each, could have been responsible for an untold number of overdose deaths.
“The number of fentanyl overdoses that this seizure will prevent is impossible to know.”
About 4,600 people died of opioid overdoses in Canada last year, according to Health Canada.
Four men and two women were arrested as part of last month’s operations, Belanger said.
All but one of them remains in custody, while one female suspect secured bail.
Two men, identified as Jaidyn Downes, 33, of Cobourg and Sebastiano Profetto, 30, of Windsor, are sought for a raft of drug and firearm offences.
Belanger said arrangements are underway to see both men surrender to police.