Toronto police target rival gangs involved in violent drug feud
Published Friday, October 4, 2013 8:49AM EDT Last Updated Friday, October 4, 2013 3:29PM EDT
Toronto police say they have delivered a significant blow to two rival gangs who are engaged in a violent feud over the illicit drug trade in part of Scarborough.
More than 30 people accused of being members or associates of the Galloway Boys and Orton Park Boys are in custody and additional suspects are being sought after police launched two projects in their latest crackdown on the east-end street gangs.
"As to whether or not the gang is going to continue to survive … we’ll have to wait and see," McLane said of the Galloway Boys, who have been linked to several violent crimes in Scarborough, including a deadly shooting at a Danzig Street barbecue. "I think that (the arrests are) going to have a heavy impact."
"This should have an impact on the community’s sense of security and safety around their houses," he added later.
Since the first project began early last year, police have laid more than 400 charges for attempted murder, drug trafficking, firearms offences and the rare offence of participating in a criminal organization.
At a news conference Friday, homicide squad Staff Insp. Greg McLane said a surge in shootings over a four-month period in 2011, including the killing of 24-year-old D’Mitre Barnaby, sparked the crackdown.
The shootings are directly related to the gangs’ struggle for control of the drug trade, McLane told reporters.
Project Brazen began in April 2012, resulting in nine arrests, the seizures of five “crime-related” firearms, and attempted murder charges for four shooting incidents, McLane said.
Suspect tried to shoot officer, police say
In one of the incidents, a police officer was chasing a male youth near Galloway Road Public School when the youth turned, pointed a gun at the officer and pulling the trigger several times. The firearm did not discharge. The officer eventually arrested the youth.
Barnaby’s homicide has been linked to the gang feud but it remains unsolved. Barnaby was not a gang member and he was fatally shot in a parking lot at 3895 Lawrence Ave. E. in a case of mistaken identity, McLane said.
Police previously said Barnaby has a striking resemblance to the intended target, and he was ambushed by two armed males.
After Project Brazen concluded in September 2012, homicide detectives and officers from east-end divisions reviewed the evidence and launched Project Quell last June in an attempt to identify the alleged gang members and charge them with participating in a criminal organization. If convicted, the charge carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
To lay the charge, police must have evidence that meets the criteria set out in Canada’s Criminal Code, which defines a “criminal organization” as a group, however organized, that is composed of at least three people who have a main purpose of committing serious offences for material or financial gain.
Project Quell was done in two phases. In this first phase, 138 charges were laid against seven alleged members of the Orton Park Boys, who get their name from Orton Park Road.
McLane said the second phase identified 25 people as members of the Galloway Boys, named after Galloway Road, and they are charged with 225 offences. Eight were arrested when police carried out search warrants in Toronto, London and Waterloo on Thursday. Nine were already in custody and eight more are still being sought.
During Thursday's raids, officers seized more than 1,000 grams of cocaine and more than $10,400 in drug proceeds, McLane said.
In total, officers have identified 41 suspects.
The eight people wanted by police are:
- Sedonick Atkins, 21, 13 charges
- Bismark Barrett, 22, four charges
- Devon Brumble, 20, 13 charges
- Micheil Davy, 23, seven charges
- Ernesto Gayle, 36, four charges
- Carl Sangs, 27, 85 charges
- Tyrrell Turner, 21, four charges
- Orane West, 30, three charges
While police believe they have put a dent in the gangs' activities, they know that they haven't eliminated or stopped them.
Investigators say they continue to investigate to determine whether the suspects are responsible for any additional incidents, and they are encouraging the public to call detectives if they have information.
Police are asking people with information about Barnaby's homicide to call Det.-Sgt. David Ecklund at 416-808-7400 ext. 7-7423 or Det. Jeff Allington at 416-808-4300, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
Gang linked to Danzig Street shootout
Police said there was some overlap involving projects Brazen and Quell and the investigation into a deadly shootout at a block party on Danzig Street in 2012.
Police have previously said the Danzig Street shooting, which left two people dead and more than 20 others wounded, was the result of a dispute involving members of the Galloway Boys and Malvern Crew.
McLane would not comment about whether any of the Project Brazen or Project Quell suspects were present during the Danzig Street shootout.
This is not the first time police have targeted the Galloway Boys.
In 2004, several members of the Galloway Boys and Malvern Crew were arrested and eventually sent to prison.
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