13 People Charged; Illegal Drugs and Weapons Seized
TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Several Ontario residents face numerous charges following an international investigation into the importation of illegal drugs and guns into Canada from Central and South America and the United States.
Project MONTO began in 2014 as an international Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) investigation into illegal drugs importation into Canada from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Guyana and prohibited weapons from Florida. Illegal and prescription drugs were then distributed from the Greater Toronto Area to Newfoundland and Labrador. Cash would go from Newfoundland and Labrador back to the Greater Toronto Area. Drugs were also distributed locally in the GTA upon arrival. Cash would be transferred to the source countries to purchase the drugs being imported. The illegal drugs being acquired and distributed consisted primarily of wholesale quantities of cocaine.
At a news conference today, OPP Chief Superintendent Rick BARNUM and representatives from the project's partner agencies unveiled details of the investigation and samples of the evidence seized during the year-long probe.
Project MONTO was conducted by OCEB Drug Enforcement Unit in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Members of the OPP Emergency Response Team, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and the Toronto Police Service Emergency Task Force (ETF) assisted with executing the search warrants. Several search warrants were executed earlier this week at locations in southern Ontario, including the City of Toronto.
During the course of the investigation, the project team worked closely with investigators from three other drug importation projects, who combined to seize a total of 123 kilograms of cocaine, worth a potential street value of $12.2-million. Project MONTO investigators seized 22 firearms and $146,000.00 in Canadian currency. In addition, four (4) vehicles were seized as offence-related property.
OPP have charged 13 people with 48 offences including charges relating to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Criminal Code of Canada. (See PROJECT MONTO -- ADDENDUM OF CHARGED PERSONS on Media Resources Page)
Several of the accused persons have already appeared at Ontario Courts of Justice at various times and dates. The investigation continues.
Media resources, including digital still photos of some of the evidence seized and a map, can be found at this link: Media Resources Page. (www.opp.ca/media/monto)
The Ontario Provincial Police Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) has a mandate to work with its partners to facilitate the disruption and suppression of criminal enterprises, which affects the citizens of Ontario. OCEB provides members and operational support to investigations on a provincial, national, and international level, working in cooperation with law enforcement agencies from around the world.
"Anytime that we dismantle a criminal operation, we send a very clear message to criminals that police – regardless of jurisdiction – will continue to identify and aggressively pursue those individuals who continue to threaten the safety of our communities. Project MONTO again demonstrates how effective law enforcement is at working together to target criminality."– Chief Superintendent Rick BARNUM, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police
For further information: Media Contact: Sgt. Peter Leon, Provincial Media Coordinator, Phone: (705) 329-6878, E-mail: email@example.com