July 16, 2021 – Ontario Provincial Police have arrested 22 people and seized millions of dollars in drugs following a months-long investigation into two GTA-based groups that were allegedly importing cocaine into Canada.
Detective Inspector Jim Walker told reporters at a Thursday morning news conference that the OPP began looking into the groups in March, 2020 and quickly collaborated with York Regional Police after discovering that there was overlap with an active investigation already underway in that jurisdiction.
He said that the groups operated separately and their linkage for the purpose of the investigation “was based solely on common members” between them.
Walker said that one of the groups was responsible for the importation and trafficking of cocaine from Colombia. He said that they would conceal the drugs in textiles for shipment to Canada and would then use a clandestine lab to process it into “a sellable state.”
The other group, he said, conspired to import cocaine from the Caribbean and was also involved in the exportation of illegal cannabis from Canada into the United States.
“We want to be clear about the objectives of these organized crime groups. They participate in these illegal activities jeopardizing the safety of our communities for the purpose of generating significant financial gains,” Walker said. “They launder the proceed of their illegal activities to benefit from a lifestyle that they could otherwise not afford. One member of this organized crime group collaborated to direct their drug trafficking proceeds towards the purchase of a $1.5 million house in the GTA. While have our law-abiding citizens working hard each day to earn an honest living these organized crime groups show no regard for the law and benefit financially from this.”
The arrest of the 22 individuals accused of participating in the importation and trafficking of the cocaine mostly occurred on July 7 when police executed 44 search warrants at locations across the GTA.
The suspects are facing a combined 139 charges. Walker said that some of those charges relate to other illegal activity, including fraudulent phishing and mortgage fraud crimes. CTV News reports. | READ MORE