FROM: Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau DATE: March 18, 2021
FIREARMS, EXPLOSIVES AND QUANTITIES OF COCAINE AND ILLEGAL CANNABIS SEIZED AFTER EIGHT-MONTH INVESTIGATION
(ORILLIA, ON) – Several individuals are facing serious charges at the conclusion of Project WEAVER, an eight-month investigation into firearms and drug trafficking in Southwestern Ontario.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB), Biker Enforcement Unit (BEU) and Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU), with assistance from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), began this investigation after intelligence indicated significant firearms and drug trafficking activity in Southwestern Ontario. As the investigation continued, police identified four separate, unrelated criminal networks involved in the trafficking of cocaine, firearms, explosives and cannabis.
The four independent criminal networks identified include:
- Members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in the London area responsible for trafficking cocaine in large quantities.
- A criminal network trafficking firearms and cannabis in the London area.
- A criminal network responsible for trafficking firearms and cocaine in the Brantford area.
- A criminal network engaged in the trafficking of offensive weapons, explosive devices and cocaine in the Brantford area, including grenades and a grenade launcher.
The investigative team has been engaged with CFNIS to determine the source of the explosives and offensive weapons. It has been determined that these are not Canadian Military explosives and investigators are confident they have identified the source. There is no threat to public safety.
On March 9, 2021, police executed 11 search warrants in London (2), Brantford (4), Ancaster, Paris, St. Thomas, Oakland and Barrie. Members from OPP OCEB, BEU, Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), PWEU, Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU), K-9, Community Street Crime Units (CSCU), Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET), and Aviation as well as specialty units from Hamilton Police Service, Brantford Police Service, London Police Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Barrie Police Service, Stratford Police Service and St. Thomas Police Service assisted with the execution of the search warrants.
As a result of this investigation, police seized:
- 31 firearms
- 81 grenades
- Two (2) grenade launchers
- 22 other prohibited devices
- Three (3) explosive projectiles
- 85 kilograms of cocaine
- 216 pounds of illegal cannabis
- Five (5) pounds of hash
- More than $10,000 in other illegal cannabis products
- 36 pounds of psilocybin
- 715 grams of MDMA
- One (1) Outlaws MC vest
- $127,757 in Canadian currency
- $2,106 in US currency
- Eight (8) vehicles
The investigative team has seized a total of 31 firearms as a result of Project WEAVER. The OPP-led PWEU has worked collaboratively with its partners to trace the origin of these firearms. At this time, the origin of all 31 firearms is not known, however some originated domestically in Canada, and some have an origin in the United States. This portion of the investigation is still underway.
Investigators have worked tirelessly to contribute to the disruption of the illegal firearms, offensive weapons and drug trafficking market in Ontario. The four criminal networks responsible for these illegal activities have jeopardized the safety of numerous Ontario communities. Investigators have diligently gathered intelligence and evidence over the past several months in order to lay significant and serious charges against those responsible. Some of these individuals have criminal backgrounds and were already bound by existing firearms prohibitions.
A total of 10 people have been charged with 268 offences. A full list can be found on the Addendum of Charged Persons within the Project WEAVER media kit. Upon arrest, three of the accused were held in custody. The remainder were released with conditions. They are expected to appear at an Ontario Court of Justice in London on March 19, 2021.
“Project WEAVER has revealed the availability of truly alarming offensive weapons and firearms, which compromise the safety of the citizens of Ontario. It is imperative that law enforcement continue the fight against illegal firearms and those who choose to engage in their trafficking. The OPP is committed to a safe and secure Ontario and this investigation has prevented numerous illegal firearms, weapons and large quantities of drugs from reaching our communities.” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique
“The Barrie Police Investigative Services has been assisting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Project WEAVER, which saw a number of search warrants simultaneously executed in southwestern Ontario. Last week, the Barrie Police Tactical Support Unit was called on to execute the safe entry of a residence on Dunsmore Lane in the City of Barrie. The collaborative focus on public safety is something that law enforcement encompasses in Ontario every day. We know organized crime has no boundaries and police services frequently work together to provide necessary resources to ensure community safety. I commend the OPP and everyone involved in this investigation and know that collectively we contribute to making Ontario and Barrie a safer place for everyone.” – Chief Kimberley Greenwood, Barrie Police Service
Please visit https://youtu.be/dWncLp15cO4 to view the full announcement from the Ontario Provincial Police, London Police Service, Brantford Police Service and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.
A full backgrounder on the BEU is available as an attachment to this release.
Media resources including video clips, evidence photos, an Addendum of Charged Persons and graphics can be found at http://www.opp.ca/news/#/mediakit. Previously scheduled virtual interviews will begin immediately after the announcement.
(Attachments – 1)
Media Contact: Detective Staff Sergeant Scott Wade
Operations Manager, Biker Enforcement Unit
E-mail: [email protected]