Toronto police say a series of massive pre-dawn raids Tuesday morning in which they seized guns, drugs and cash will cripple the activities of two notorious street gangs.

"We have identified people who are truly dangerous, who are responsible for much of the violence that takes place," Toronto police Chief William Blair said Tuesday at a news conference.

The raids, executed predominantly in the northwest area of the city, targeted members of the Falstaff Crips and the Five Point Generals street gangs -- and the elusive international Shower Posse.

Blair said that members of the two gangs “have, quite frankly, terrorized the neighbourhoods in which they operate.”

The arrests and seizures, preceded by nine months of intelligence-gathering, will help to “disrupt and dismantle” gang operations, he said, adding, “I think we’re going to make a difference.”

The investigation also revealed an international criminal organization that “has tentacles into these street-level groups,” Blair said.

A total of 105 search warrants were executed simultaneously by more than 1,000 officers from 19 organizations in a joint-force operation.

The operation, which police call Project Corral, started in August 2009 to target the spike in violent crimes in the northwest. The rise in violence is believed to be the result of conflict between the two street-level gangs, police said.

So far, 71 arrests have been made. Police expect to lay charges for drug and violent offences, including trafficking in firearms and illegal drugs. The large number of arrests meant prisoners had to be processed at three different police stations.

At the Finch Avenue courts, the prisoners started arriving shortly after noon. By the afternoon's end, only about 20 had been processed. The process has been complicated by the fact that some accused had other outstanding charges or had been out on bail.

CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness said court staff thought they could be working until 10 p.m.

Police also seized:

  • drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy
    10 firearms
  • $30,000 in cash
  • $10,500 in casino cheques
  • body armour
  • vehicles

The investigation also revealed that members of the Shower Posse, an international higher-level criminal organization based in Jamaica, were allegedly controlling gang activity within Toronto by allegedly supplying the Crips and the Generals with drugs for street-level sales and with firearms.

During the investigation, two murders occurred in the areas targeted by Project Corral that police believe are related to the two gangs.

Those homicides took place on Dec. 3, 2009 and Feb. 8 on Falstaff Avenue just east of Jane Street, south of Wilson Avenue. The homicide investigations are ongoing.

Tuesday’s raids were not the first time police had made seizures or arrests under Project Corral. Between January and May 2, police seized nine firearms and more than $300,000 in proceeds of crime.

Working with the Canada Border Services Agency, they also identified and seized 72 kilograms of cocaine in the Dominican Republic that was allegedly destined for Toronto.

Organized crime enforcement Supt. Greg Getty said police have partnered with community services to help residents in the communities targeted in Tuesday’s raids re-establish their communities and take them back from the violence of gang activity.


One woman in northwest Toronto is wondering who will pay for the damage to her apartment after police burst through the door.

"I thought it was a car running into a neighbour's house," Mazie Daley told CTV Toronto -- until she saw police officers' firearms pointed at her head at 5 a.m.

"I hear, 'Don't move, don't move, don't move!' On the ground!'"

Police had come for her 21-year-old son Brendan on drug-related charges, but they conducted a search that left the apartment upended.

Daley said her son isn't in a gang and is trying to clean up his life. She's also angry that police didn't show the search warrant until an hour after the raid.

Such actions cause bad feelings in the community, she said.

With reports from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney, Naomi Parness and John Musselman