TORONTO – Toronto police still won’t release the names of the 28 people they arrested in a series of pre-dawn raids Thursday, or say exactly what they’ve been charged with until next week. But a day after the arrests and seizures of numerous guns and over $500,000 as part of an investigation dubbed Project Traveller, officers showcased some of the weapons and detailed the efforts they’re initiating in the community at the epicentre of the arrests.
They also connected the Project Traveller raids with a high-profile murder investigation involving people who appear to have been photographed with Mayor Rob Ford.
Police arrested 28 people Thursday – and 43 total – as a result of the year-long investigation into northwest Toronto street gang the “Dixon Bloods” or “Dixon Goonies.”
Upwards of 300 charges could be laid, police said, including various charges connected to gangs, guns, trafficking in weapons and drugs, attempted murder and murder.
Some of the murder charges stem from March 28 murder of Anthony Smith, police said Friday.
Smith, 21, was gunned down outside of a King Street West nightclub.
He is also one of the people identified in a photograph with the mayor.
During a Thursday press conference, Chief Bill Blair refused to answer questions about any link between the mayor and the investigation, saying only that all the evidence would come out during court proceedings.
Police officers gathered at 23 Division Headquarters in Etobicoke Friday morning and detailed the next phase of Project Traveller, dubbed Project Clean Slate.
Clean Slate, police said, aims to work with the community to fill the vacuum left after the arrests of numerous members of the “Dixon Bloods” gang.
“[Police are] making sure that the gang was dismantled doesn’t form again. Making sure that the a new gang doesn’t form in the vacuum,” Toronto Police Deputy Peter Sloly said at Friday’s press conference. “Dixon Road was being victimized by a gang. Many members of that gang are now before the courts.”
Police say they will have a “very high” presence of uniformed police officers in the community to assist residents and suppress any gang violence that threatens to take the place of the Dixon Bloods.
“[The people on Dixon Road] were living in fear of the violence that was taking place,” Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner said. “They were a serious gang. And they were a serious violent problem for us and the community.”
Police added that many of the people arrested were well-known to police.
© Shaw Media, 2013