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Cocaine, meth, fentanyl seized in international drug investigation launched in Winnipeg

Click to play video: '22 arrested in four-year international drug and gun trafficking investigation, Manitoba RCMP says' 22 arrested in four-year international drug and gun trafficking investigation, Manitoba RCMP says
Jane MacLatchy, the Manitoba RCMP’s assistant commissioner, announced on Tuesday they have charged 22 people including a full-patch member of the Hells Angels as part of a four-year national and international drug importation and distribution investigation named “Project Divergent” which seized nearly 150 kg of drugs and recovered of a number of firearms – Mar 29, 2022

A years-long investigation that started in Winnipeg, but stretched as far as Colombia and Greece, has led to charges for 22 people — and netted police a cache of guns and nearly 150 kilograms of hard drugs.

Project Divergent started in 2018 when a criminal analyst with Manitoba RCMP noticed trends in drugs being imported into Canada.

Read more: Months-long police investigation yields major drug bust: Winnipeg police

Police say they worked with law enforcement partners across Canada and around the world to get inside the criminal networks, finding huge volumes of drugs being moved into the country, including a connection with the Hells Angels.

Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP, said that late last month, Mounties executed several search warrants in B.C., Manitoba and Ontario.

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Click to play video: 'Cocaine, meth, fentanyl seized in international drug investigation launched in Winnipeg' Cocaine, meth, fentanyl seized in international drug investigation launched in Winnipeg
Cocaine, meth, fentanyl seized in international drug investigation launched in Winnipeg – Mar 29, 2022

The police actions included the arrest in Ontario of Damion Ryan, 41, a full-patch B.C. Hells Angels member with a chapter in Greece.

“We know that outlaw motorcycle gangs exist in every province of Canada — they interconnect across provincial, municipal jurisdictions and have national and international connections and associations,” MacLatchy said at a Tuesday press conference in Winnipeg.

Read more: $10,000 worth of cocaine confiscated from Winnipeg home: police

“They seek to make a profit whenever and however they can and are without a doubt a serious criminal threat in Canada.

“By running this operation and bringing it to a conclusion, we’ve been able to cause a large disruption to the flow of drugs and guns into the country.”

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RCMP layout drugs, guns, and gang paraphernalia seized in Project Divergent.
RCMP layout drugs, guns, and gang paraphernalia seized in Project Divergent. RCMP Handout

In all police seized 110 kilograms of cocaine, 41 kg of meth, 3 kg of fentanyl, and 19 guns — including 5 assault-style rifles.

The investigation led to 20 arrests, including 17 people from Manitoba and two from British Columbia.

Read more: A dozen suspects arrested in gun, drug operation spanning three provinces, Winnipeg police say

RCMP say two suspects remain at large and investigators are asking for the public’s help tracking them down.

Kieffer Michael Kramar, 30, is from Winnipeg, but police believe he could be anywhere in Canada.

RCMP are looking for Denis Ivziku, 24, (left), and Kieffer Michael Kramar, 30. RCMP handout

Denis Ivziku, 24, is from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and is believed to still be in that area.

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Anyone with information about the whereabouts of either suspect is asked to call RCMP at 204-983-5420.

— with files from Skylar Peters

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