18 people have been arrested and charged with over 81 offences in the wake of a large drug and weapons bust in the Greater Toronto Area.
Project Silkstone, led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in conjunction with other agencies including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, monitored the highway 401 corridor from the GTA to Montreal in an effort to target drug and weapons traffickers.
The year-and-a-half-long project culminated in the arrests of 18 people and the seizure of 11,000 fentanyl-laced pills, 8 kg of cocaine, over 7 kg of ecstasy, nearly $60,000 in cash, $50,000 in casino chips, and 23 firearms including long guns and automatic assault rifles. Also found in the bust were patches and colours belonging to various organized crime groups, including the Hell’s Angels.
“The investigation literally prevented more than eleven-thousand doses of death and illegal guns from killing people in the province,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum said during a news conference in Vaughan, ON. Barnum warned that recreational drug users need to exercise caution, even if their drugs are from a dealer they know well.
“They need to understand now – there’s a really, really, really good chance it contains fentanyl. These pills, whether they’re ecstasy or oxycontin or whatever, they have fentanyl in them. And it just takes such small amounts to kill somebody.”
The massive project discovered that drugs, laced with fentanyl were being made here in Ontario and Quebec and then being smuggled from the Montreal area into Connecticut. Officers seized a snowmobile in the bust, signalling that drug-runners may have been trafficking the drugs and weapons using a snowmobile, to cross into the United States through unpatrolled border areas.
The 18 people charged through Project Silkstone will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville to face their various charges. The OPP has confirmed that their investigation is ongoing, and that further information will be released as it becomes available.