Dozens of charges laid in gun- and drug-running probe
TORONTO — Police say they have seized a dozen illegal guns as well as drugs and cash following an investigation that targeted gang activity in Toronto.
Insp. Don Belanger said the probe — dubbed Project Topside — was launched in September when police got a tip about a man allegedly dealing large quantities of cocaine on the city’s east side.
The seized weapons included a submachine-gun, semi-automatic handguns and rifles.
Several kilograms of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl were also seized along with $200,000 in cash.
“You can see that this is the lifeblood of street-gang subculture,” Chief Mark Saunders said at a news conference in front of the cache of seized weapons and drugs.
“They’re in it for the money and any time we can disrupt that money we can deter more people wanting to get into the industry and also save lives.”
Two brothers from Stouffville, Ont., face more than 50 charges each while police are looking for a third man from Markham.
“Investigators came to believe that those involved not only had access to large quantities of cocaine, but that they also had access to illicit firearms,” Belanger said.
Most of the guns and all of the drugs were found hidden in one custom-made trap door in an SUV, he said.
“This sophisticated trap was wired into the vehicle and it operated using hydraulics,” Belanger said.
Belanger said the $200,000 cash was found on one of the men when he was arrested while walking to his car.
He said police raided three homes and searched three vehicles in late October.
They also seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and two silencers.