Toronto police seize over $20-million in drugs, firearms, and cash in trafficking probes
Two of Toronto police’s major crime investigations teams paired up for a presser on Thursday to update the public on four major crime projects involving the seizure of millions in guns, drugs and cash.
In all, police charged 27 people, seized more than 20 firearms including assault rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, motor vehicles, $3.2-million in cash, 115 kilograms of cocaine, 44 kilograms of MDMA, 3.5 kilograms of heroin, one kilogram of fentanyl, 112 kilograms of marijuana, 11 kilograms of hashish and 1 kilogram of opium.
Drug Squad Acting Inspector Steve Watts said the four projects (Aqua, Panda, Gallo and Drizzle), all involved the transporting of high levels of drugs and fire arms through Ontario with the intention of cash sales. Watts said one of the more troubling aspects of the project was the portability of the fentanyl seized.
“When you start pointing that out, you’re looking at a street value of $2.5-million for one kilo,” said Watts. “As opposed to kilos of cocaine which range from $50,000 to $100,000 each.”
Project Aqua saw eight people charged in an operation where a well-organized partnership trafficked large amounts of powder cocaine across the GTA and Kitchener.
Four people are facing charges after Project Panda, which was named after 23-year-old alleged ring leader Kristofer Zydaczeqski. Panda involved the trafficking of controlled substances and firearms throughout the GTA and Simcoe County.
Thirteen Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrants were executed in Project Gallo, which busted individuals trafficking large amounts of powder cocaine, MDMA and assorted controlled substances across Toronto and the GTA using hidden compartments in vehicles.
Project Drizzle concluded with the arrest of 33-year-old Raian Naidoo near the Lakeshore in Etobicoke for suspicion of trafficking in narcotics and possession of a firearm.
Gun and Gang Task Force Inspector Peter Moreira revealed that tips via Crimestoppers were paramount in revealing leads for many of the investigators in all four projects. He went on to stress that calls from residents have value in trafficking cases.
“These aren’t tips that go off into never-never land,” said Moreira, “Someone actually follows up on the things.”
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