Significant Drug Seizures
In the fall of 2019, the Major Projects Section of the Toronto Police Service's Drug Squad, with assistance from Canada Border Services Agency, commenced an investigation into a group of individuals believed to be distributing cocaine at the multi-kilogram level in the city of Toronto.
Project Corredor (Spanish word for runner) an alleged sophisticated drug operation that imported cocaine to Canada, via the US, for distribution to mid- and street-level drug dealers in Toronto.
The suspects utilized residences in mid-town Toronto, North York and Scarborough to store and distribute large quantities of cocaine as well as large sums of cash alleged to be proceeds of their criminal drug enterprise, said Drug Squad Insp. Don Belanger.
Search warrants were executed on seven residences, six vehicles and on bank safety deposit boxes.
A total of 61 kilograms of powder cocaine with a potential street value of $7.9 million, more than $200,000 Canadian, $14,000 American and 30,000 Euros, four motor vehicles and an assortment of luxury watches and jewelry alleged to be proceeds of crime were seized.
“It is rare to seize this quantity of cocaine in a single investigation. Once stepped-on, or diluted, dealers would have ultimately turned these 61 kilos of pure cocaine into hundreds of kilos of lower-grade cocaine mixed with any number of cheaper additives,” Belanger said. “And as we’re seeing all too often, much of it would have undoubtedly ended up laced with fentanyl, a drug that everyone now knows is responsible for far too many deaths in Toronto and across Canada.”
He said that large quantities of drugs being stored in Toronto homes, condos and individual locations is also unsual.
Toronto residents Patrick English, 39; David Bergman, 48; Ali Baek, 52; and Ardeshir Omanian, 57, face a total of eight charges. Released from custody, they will appear at Old City Hall on June 15.
Arrest warrants have been issued for 47-year-old Andrew Wilson and 30-year-old Alan Jones-Smith of Toronto. They are wanted for possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine.
“Not only does a seizure of this size have a significant impact on the flow of a highly addictive narcotic to the streets of our city, a drug, I should add, that continues to be a source of competition amongst violent street gangs,” said Belanger. “It also removes millions of dollars in profits from criminals who choose to put their personal wealth before the health, safety and wellbeing of our neighbourhoods.”
Belanger acknowledged the difficult and dangerous job his officers face each day in their work and also thanked the Asset Forfeiture officers for their work.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-6100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes or Google Play.
The Drug Squad is also responsible for another recent large-scale seizure.
On Monday, April 27, they arrested four men at a residence in the Park Road North and Highway 401 area in Oshawa.
Operated by the homeowner, the residence was a makeshift chemical lab, capable of producing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine.
Officers executed search warrants on six vehicles and four residences located in the Oshawa, Thornhill, Burlington and Hamilton areas.
It is alleged that 43 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine with a potential street value in excess of $3.4 million, nearly three litres of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutrayte) with a potential street value of about $3000, five kilos of ketamine with a potential street value of $135,000, various chemicals, equipment and glassware used in the production of methamphetamine and a .32 calibre semi-automatic pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition were seized.
The investigation was launched after police received information.
“Whenever you have an investigation into crystal meth, the goal is always to try and determine whether there is an actual lab that is producing the drug in our jurisdiction,” said Drug Squad Inspector Don Belanger. “Sometimes crystal meth can be imported and other times it is made here. In this case, our investigation led to the meth lab in Oshawa.”
Belanger said there are devastating health implications for individuals that abuse crystal meth because a combination of highly corrosive products are used to make the drug.
“It is made of things like battery acid, anti-freeze and other household products,” he said. “The main ingredient is Ephedrine which is often imported as a precursor generally from China. The chemical labs are completely unregulated and using volatile substances are very dangerous. If there is ever an explosion, the risk to the community is obvious.”
Richard Alexandre, 56, of Oshawa, 36-year-old Richard Jansen of Burlington, Brendan Coates, 37, of Oshawa and 34-year-old Kyle Zettler of no fixed place of abode face a total of 16 charges.
Released on bail, they will appear in an Oshawa court on July 9.