Police in Peel Region are reporting the results of a major investigation following a series of violent robberies in 2021 and 2022. Officers believe they are linked to drug trafficking and vehicle theft with “a larger provincial scope.”
On Saturday, police announced the results of three linked investigations into stolen vehicles and robberies in the Peel Region and across Ontario.
Peel Regional Police said they began an investigation in September 2021 following three violent robberies where a group allegedly targeted homes with high-end vehicles parked in their driveways.
The investigation was named Project MEMPHIS.
One of the alleged robberies took place on Sept. 3, 2021. A man armed with a black handgun fired a shot into the floor during a home invasion to “intimidate the victims” before the suspects fled with a 2021 Bentley Bentayga worth around $400,000, police alleged.
In late August 2022, following a “lengthy and detailed” investigation, Peel police made three arrests.
Ahmet Ibrahimi, 29, from Kitchener was arrested and charged with two counts of property obtained by crime and one count of fraud over $5,000. Thirty-year-old Anthony Putzu was charged with possession of property obtained by crime, according to Peel police.
Police said Diana Bytyqi, 28, from Cambridge was charged with obstructing a peace officer and uttering a forged document.
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During the investigation, officers concluded the crime was linked to broader, Ontario-wide issues with drug trafficking and vehicle thefts.
“In total, 28 persons were charged with 242 Criminal offences, including participating in a criminal organization,” Peel police said of a multi-force investigation named Project MYRA.
Both Ibrahimi and Putzu were charged as part of Project MYRA, Peel police said. The results of that joint investigation, led by Ontario Provincial Police, were released in July.
Over the same period, Peel police also investigated a home invasion in Brampton on May 17, 2022.
Officers said the investigation led to the discovery of “another distinct group” allegedly responsible for using stolen vehicles in robberies.
Police linked this home invasion to both Project MYRA and Project MEMPHIS. It also led to two arrests, which officers said took place on July 6, 2022.
Ismael Ajiroba, 24, and Shareef Robinson, 25, were arrested and charged. The pair are from Brampton, according to police, and face charges including possession of a loaded prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition while prohibited.
Another man — 24-year-old Harris Mohamed from Toronto — was arrested during the investigation and charged in relation to alleged jewelry store robberies in Peel that took place on May 11 and May 19, 2022.
“The unwavering perseverance and dedication of investigators spanning 12 months highlight the commitment of Peel Regional Police to combating organized crime groups impacting our communities. Community safety and well being is our highest priority,” police said in a news release.