27 arrested as part of investigation into drug and firearm trafficking rings

Graphic via OPP.

A 13-month joint-forces investigation by the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau (POIB), and the Toronto and Belleville Police Services (TPS and BPS respectively), known as Project Coyote, has resulted in 27 arrests.

According to a release from the OPP, the investigation into the trafficking of controlled substances and firearms by Greater Toronto Area (GTA) drug traffickers and members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club began in January 2022.

Police said that nine high-risk warrants were executed in the GTA on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, resulting in the arrest of 12 individuals. Additional warrants were executed and 15 further arrests were made on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. This included three members of the Hells Angels and three members of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club, the OPP stated. 

The results of this investigation include the seizure/restraint of significant amounts of cash, firearms, weapons, and other items including, to date:

  • One Glock P80 3D printed handgun
  • One Ruger 357 (stolen) handgun
  • One Taurus 9mm handgun
  • One Sig Sauer 380-calibre prohibited handgun
  • One SCCY CPX-2 9mm restricted handgun
  • Three prohibited sawed-off shotguns
  • Three replica handguns
  • Two stun guns
  • Live ammunition
  • Jewelry including two Rolex watches, gold chains and rings with an approximate value of $150,000.00; miscellaneous Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG) jewelry
  • Miscellaneous Hells Angels (HA) vests, signage, member list and photos
  • Hard and soft body armour
  • 10 vehicles
  • More than $370,000 in Canadian currency
  • 500 vape pens and cartridges
  • Controlled substances in excess of:
    • 16 kilograms of cocaine
    • 1.5 kilograms of Fentanyl
    • 6 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, and an additional 400 crystal methamphetamine pills
    • 20 lbs of cannabis, as well as 500 packages of Cannabis edibles and 700 Cannabis edibles
    • 8 lbs of hashish
    • 7 grams of Psilocybin

The OPP noted that as evidence collection and the investigation are ongoing, the above totals are subject to change.

The investigation was supported by federal and international partners including Canada Border Services Agency and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The OPP expressed its appreciation to all of its participating members, both uniform and specialty support units, for their assistance with this investigation.

“Street gangs, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and other organized crime groups undermine peace and security across our communities,” said Chief Superintendent Paul Mackey, OCEB, OPP. “They deal in violence and conflict. They launder money. They traffic firearms and people. They hurt our communities. Joint investigations, such as the OPP, Toronto Police Service and Belleville Police Service’s Project Coyote, are critical in dismantling these criminal operations.”

The OPP provided a full list of charged persons, and noted that as the investigation continues, more charges are anticipated. The provided charges are accurate as up 10 a.m. today, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.

“The harm inflicted by organized crime in our communities knows no boundaries,” added Deputy Chief Chris Barry, Belleville Police Service. “These organizations prey on our most vulnerable citizens through violence and intimidation and profit from inflicted harm. Collaborative investigations such as Project Coyote send a very powerful message to criminals that they will face the combined resources of the entire law enforcement community in order to hold them accountable for their actions.”

The 15 parties arrested on February 22 are to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville on February 23, 2023.

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