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9 kilos of cocaine seized in Brandon’s largest-ever bust, along with $450K and more

Click to play video: '9 kilos of cocaine seized in Brandon’s largest-ever bust, along with $450K and more'
9 kilos of cocaine seized in Brandon’s largest-ever bust, along with $450K and more
Brandon police have seized nine kilos of cocaine, over $450,000, three vehicles, and weapons in what they call the largest cocaine bust in the city’s history – Nov 28, 2022

Brandon police have seized nine kilos of cocaine, over $450,000, three vehicles, and weapons in what they call the largest cocaine bust in the city’s history.

The Brandon Police Service along with several other agencies, including the Winnipeg Police Service and the Manitoba Criminal Intelligence Centre, entered into a high-level interprovincial cocaine trafficking investigation called Project Banish in September 2021.

Through the investigation, police learned of multiple members of a local group of drug traffickers.

Police say this group was observed to import multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine into Brandon and then distribute the cocaine through a sophisticated operation network of high/mid-level traffickers and local couriers.

The cocaine was being transported into Brandon from Ontario and British Columbia, according to police.

“Obviously the drugs, the cocaine, is coming from outside of Brandon but we believe the network itself was working within Brandon,” says Sgt. Paul MacBeth.

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The investigation came to a head during the week of Nov. 21, when police executed 11 search warrants in and around the city:

  • six residential search warrants in Brandon
  • one residential search warrant in Campbell’s Trailer Court
  • a search warrant on a Brandon business
  • three vehicle search warrants

Police then seized the following items:

  • in excess of nine kilograms of cocaine with a street value over $900,000
  • over $450,000 cash
  • two stolen handguns and a .30-06 rifle
  • ballistic vest and multiple other prohibited weapons
  • 2011 Lincoln MKS
  • 2003 Harley Davison motorcycle
  • 2003 Victory motorcycle
Photo of some of the seized items from Brandon’s largest drug bust. Brandon Police

“We do have an ongoing dialogue with social service groups and the health-care system within the province and within Brandon here itself to hopefully have this gap in supply turn into some positive results for those trying to break free of addiction,” says Deputy Chief Randy Lewis.

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Consequently, police arrested 10 people. Among them was a family of five — three siblings and two parents, who police say were all involved in the operation.

MacBeth says the mother played a significant role “as she maintained control of the cash from the proceeds of the drug sales and stashed the money in her residence.”

She also allegedly disbursed the money to another member of the drug trafficking organization to pay for a resupply of cocaine, MacBeth says.

The 10 individuals are now facing a variety of charges related to drug trafficking. All but one of the suspects have been released with court appearances beginning in December.

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A 27-year-old man, who police accuse of being the leader, remains in custody, according to MacBeth.

MacBeth says police expect another group to take over the operation.

“We will do our best to discover who they are and take them down as well.”

The combined value of drugs, cash and proceeds of crime is over $950,000, police say.

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says it’s an example of the continued effort to collaborate between agencies.

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Winnipeg police announce massive $6 million drug bust

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