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Police in Ontario lay over 400 charges, seize $1.3M in drugs in ‘Project Monarch’

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WATCH ABOVE: Police say Ontario streets are a little safer thanks to a months-long investigation that led to dozens of gun seizures and arrests. As Caryn Lieberman reports, police say they’re confident they’ve cracked a cross-border gun smuggling ring – Aug 10, 2022

Police in York Region say 22 people were arrested, over 400 charges have been laid and a “large-scale gun and drug trafficking network” in Ontario has been dismantled.

York Regional Police said in October 2021, officers began investigating an individual they believed was trafficking controlled substances.

Read more: Ontario police recover 214 stolen cars, dismantle 3 crime organizations

“As the investigation progressed, a number of suspects based out of Brampton and London were identified as being involved in the distribution of cocaine, fentanyl, and firearms,” police said in a news release

According to police, an initiative called Project Monarch was launched to “investigate and target those identified in the trafficking of controlled substances and firearms.”

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Officers said investigators identified suspects who were allegedly illicitly importing firearms from the United States into Canada.

“Investigators believe that some of the illegal firearms were brought through Walpole Island First Nation on the border of Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan,” the news release read.

According to police, on July 28, officers executed search warrants at 22 residences, two businesses and 19 vehicles in Toronto, Brampton and London.

Police said 22 people were arrested and over 400 charges have been laid.

Police said $1.3 million in drugs were seized in ‘Project Monarch’. Gord Edick / Global News

Officers said 27 handguns, 17 prohibited magazines, over 300 rounds of ammunition, nine kilograms of cocaine, 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl, over 20,100 Xanax pills, 28 grams of heroin and 41.5 pounds of cannabis were seized.

“Total street value of the seized drugs is more than $1.3 million,” police said.

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According to police, $155,242 in Canadian cash and $9,000 in United States cash, and five vehicles were also seized.

Police said Project Monarch included officers from York Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police, London Police Service, Homeland Security Investigations and the Canada Border Services Agency.

It was also supported by Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario.

Police said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

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