RCMP probe suspected drug lab in Toronto home
A house in the McCowan and Finch Avenues area was the subject of a drug investigation by the RCMP Saturday, after police found 15 kilos of ecstasy in a car linked to the home.
On Friday night around 10 p.m., the RCMP stopped a car that had been the subject of an ongoing drug investigation. Supt. Ron Allen said about 125,000 tablets of ecstasy were seized.
Four people from Toronto were arrested and a man from New York was also taken into custody.
Allen told CTV.ca the RCMP had been watching suspicious activities around the house for some time, and they suspect it could be an ecstasy lab. After finding evidence in the car, police obtained a search warrant for the home.
On Saturday, police made sure to secure the home before going in, as dangerous, flammable chemicals are often used in drug labs. Some neighbours were evacuated to be on the safe side. Health Canada was at the scene, closely monitoring the situation.
The clandestine lab unit combed the house dressed in protective gear. They dismantled what police are calling a multi-million dollar pill press laboratory.
"Throughout the house, there are different locations used where there are pills that have been already pressed, that are bagged and areas that have been used to dry the powdered product," Det. Insp. Rick Penny told reporters at the scene.
Police said they found the equivalent of two million pills.
Allen said judging from the amount of drugs that was seized, it's clear it was not meant for the GTA's drug market.
"A lot of our investigations over the years have proven that it's not for our domestic market," he said. "It's no big secret that ecstasy made in the GTA supplies the US market."
RCMP Sgt. Brent Hill who was working at the scene told CTV News ecstasy, like other drugs, is a growing trend.
"Drugs, like meth, escstasy, they're commonly found in schools, at nightclubs, at house parties so we're going to find more and more of these types of situations," he said.
Authorities are familiar with the suspected home. Last year, Toronto police dismantled a marijuana grow-op at the house. A 34-year-old man was convicted in that case and subsequently released.
Police won't say if he's still connected to the home but did say nobody was currently living at the house. The house is currently for sale but Health Canada will decide if the house is in any condition to be sold.
Neighbours said they never noticed any suspicious activity around the house but nonetheless, were not happy about the recent findings.
"This is shocking for me," said one man living on the street. "I mean my goodness, you know, I have four kids."
Allen said it's hard to prove whether or not the owner of the house knows anything about the illegal activities happening inside because the property is often leased out to others.
Facing drug-possession charges are Yan Shi, 31, Wei Qion Ma, 29, Yao Quan Jian, 20 and Shu Qiang Wu, 37, of Toronto. Wan Shan Ling, 50, of Brooklyn, N.Y. is also facing possession charges.
With a report from CTV's Naomi Parness