Dozens of charges laid in gun- and drug-run­ning probe

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - LIAM CASEY

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.

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