Police net $32M in illegal cannabis and drugs after busting crime ring with Brampton connections

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Published November 17, 2021 at 10:48 am

Police have sized approximately 10,000 packages of illegal cannabis edibles, guns and drugs Project Gainsborough. Photo courtesy of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Police have recovered more than $32 million worth of black-market cannabis, guns and drugs after busting grow operations in Brampton and Middlesex County.

In June 2020, police say they began tracking an illegal cannabis website offering delivery to London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto.

That kicked off a 16-month-long investigation which police dubbed Project Gainsborough, leading police to cannabis extraction labs in Brampton and Middlesex County.

Members of the Peel Regional Police, London Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police were able to dismantle the operations, which police can contain highly explosive, flammable and toxic substances used to complete the extraction process and “pose significant dangers to the community.”

On Nov. 3, police executed 15 search warrants across London, Hamilton, Toronto, St. Thomas, Middlesex County and Norfolk County. As a result of the investigation, 21 people have been charged with 118 offences, including organized crime charges.

Police said members of the alleged organized crime group were also trafficking cocaine in the London area.

Three of the accused have been held in custody while the remaining 18 were released and are scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in London in November and December.

During Project Gainsborough police seized:

  • 495 kilograms of illegal cannabis resin and oil.
  • 7,166 kilograms of illegal cannabis bud.
  • Approximately 10,000 packages of illegal cannabis edibles.
  • 2,773 kilograms of illegal cannabis shake.
  • 185 kilograms of illegal cannabis shatter.
  • 15,343 illegal cannabis plants.
  • 65 kilograms of psilocybin.
  • 124 grams of cocaine.
  • 28 oxycodone pills.
  • 50 hydromorphone pills.
  • Grow equipment valued at more than $653,000.
  • Six firearms and ammunition, including four handguns, a .22 calibre rifle and a 12-gauge sawed off shotgun.
  • More than $53,000 in currency.
  • Six vehicles as offence-related property, with a combined value of approximately $163,000.

Purchasing cannabis from anywhere other than the online Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized private retailer could lead to a fine of up to $100,000, and one year prison time.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox said black-market cannabis continues to be lucrative for organized crime groups despite legalization.

“For criminals that aim to jeopardize the safety of our communities by trafficking these illegal commodities, the OPP and our partners in law enforcement will continue to relentlessly pursue them, seize their property and dismantle their operations,” Cox said.

 

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