York Police raid meth labs, seize $5 million in drugs in historic bust
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, March 22, 2019 9:05AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 22, 2019 8:38PM EDT
It was a mound of garbage bags and canisters dumped on a small town Ontario driveway that led York Regional Police to bust what they described as the “largest methamphetamine production operation ever investigated” by the force.
The investigation began back in November of 2018 when police were tipped off about a foul smelling collection of more than 100 garbage bags sitting outside a home on Woodbine Avenue, near Herald Road, in East Gwillimbury.
The bags had a “strong chemical smell,” police said, and the plastic canisters were marked with symbols indicating its contents were corrosive.
Officers soon discovered that the bags were full of byproducts of synthetic drug manufacturing.
“They are very explosive, toxic, and explosive, and create poisonous environments,” Det. Sgt. Doug Bedford said at a news conference on Friday.
Less than a month later, on Dec. 2, police received a second similar report about a dump site on the same street, this time nearer to Mount Albert Road. A total of 48,000 pounds of toxic waste was ultimately recovered from both locations.
On March 14, police began executing a series of search warrants across the GTA.
The search allegedly yielded a “dormant drug lab” on Kennedy Road, north of Holborn Road, and an active lab on 10th Sideroad in Innisfil.
Jennifer Sachedina lives next door to the home on Kennedy Road and said she often smelled chemicals, something she described as being a cross between “nail polish remover and those thick, black markers from the 80s.”
“Every time they would cook, I could smell it,” she told CTV News Toronto. “Some days were worse than others depending on the direction of the wind.”
Reliant on well-water, Sachedina said she is now worried about the long-term effects of living next to a lab. She said she will be drinking bottle water until the water in the well is tested, something she said could cost thousands of dollars.
“This is the stuff you see on TV shows and movies. You never think in a million years it will be your neighbours.”
Police said approximately $5 million worth of meth, five vehicles, and an undisclosed amount of Canadian and U.S. currency were seized during the raids.
“The scale of these two production sites we would classify as super labs,” Bedford said
“They are able to produce multi-kilo levels of synthetic drugs and have been.”
In total, eight people were arrested. York police have not released the identities of those allegedly involved, nor the charges they are facing.
One suspect, however, is still outstanding.
Van Truong Do, of Toronto is wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant. The 34-year-old is wanted for a number of charges, including production of a controlled substance, money laundering, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
In addition to the arrests, police said that they also took three children into the custody of the Children’s Aid Society. Investigators do not believe the children, nor all of the suspects arrested, were living at the two homes on a daily basis, but suspect they were at times staying there.
Anyone with information about Do’s whereabouts is being asked to contact York police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.