Saint Lu­cia linked to ar­rest in in­ter­na­tional drug-gun probe

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

TBren­nan Do­herty hir­teen peo­ple – twelve of them from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – are fac­ing 48 charges af­ter an in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion into illegal drug and firearm smug­gling, po­lice said on Wed­nes­day. On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Chief Supt. Rick Bar­num and seven other law en­force­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives made an an­nounce­ment about the 18-month in­ves­ti­ga­tion into firearms and drug smug­gling across the Canada-U.S. bor­der.

Dubbed Pro­ject Monto, it be­gan in 2014 as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Or­ga­nized Crime En­force­ment Bureau that looked into drug smug­gling into Canada from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lu­cia, Guyana and Cal­i­for­nia. It also looked into illegal hand­gun ship­ments from Florida.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found that co­caine and other illegal drugs were be­ing sold to New­found­land and Labrador from the GTA. A to­tal of 123 kilo­grams of co­caine was seized – worth about $12.2 mil­lion ac­cord­ing to po­lice. Four ve­hi­cles, 22 hand­guns, and $146,000 Cana­dian were also seized.

Most of the co­caine was found by se­cu­rity staff work­ing at sev­eral ma­jor Cana­dian air­ports, ac­cord­ing to Bar­num. He wouldn't elab­o­rate on how or where these drug ship­ments were found.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­cluded lo­cal po­lice, the OPP, the RCMP, the Cana­dian Bor­der Ser­vices Agency, and the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity. About 100 of­fi­cers were in­volved at any given time, said Bar­num.

Po­lice served war­rants for the 12 charged in the GTA about a week ago. Bar­num said that a num­ber of other sus­pects have been charged in New­found­land and Labrador as well as the United States, but didn't say how many there were. One of the ac­cused was listed as be­ing from Georgetown, Guyana, and re­mains at large.

The 13 ac­cused have been charged with a range of of­fenses, from im­port­ing co­caine to firearms pos­ses­sion to flee­ing po­lice. They range in age from 24 to 63.

– Canada STAR.

A se­lec­tion of hand­guns seized by po­lice dur­ing

Pro­ject Monto.

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