Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they've arrested six people and seized about $200,000 worth of illegal drugs, firearms and other prohibited weapons after a months-long investigation that spanned several cities in Ontario and Quebec.
In a press release Monday, police said they had laid 42 drugs and firearms-related charges after executing nine search warrants on Thursday in Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Ont., Carleton Place, Ont., and Gatineau, Que.
An OPP-led joint forces guns and gangs team began looking into what it called a "criminal network" trafficking illegal drugs — from crystal meth to cocaine — in July.
Police provided a long list of items seized, valued at about $200,000 dollars altogether.
The items include 2.4 kilograms of crack cocaine, 6,898 suspected methamphetamine tablets, a handful of suspected ecstasy pills, four rifles and one loaded shotgun, eight handguns (including one that was loaded), a crossbow and brass knuckles, large quantities of U.S. and Canadian cash, and two cars — a BMW and stolen Ford pickup truck.
Four of the people charged are from Ottawa — a 46-year-old, 40-year-old, 35-year-old, and a 31-year-old. Police have also charged a 40-year-old from Gatineau and a 32-year-old from Carleton Place. Some of the accused were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and others on Dec. 5.
OPP Det. Insp. Lee Fulford said in the news release that drug trafficking is claiming lives at "unprecedented levels," especially in Ontario's remote, northern communities.
"The six accused ... targeted vulnerable populations through criminal drug trafficking activities, and put everyone at risk through the firearms they possessed — which in some cases were loaded."
OPP say they've seized drugs and other property worth about $200,000 after multiple search warrants across Ontario and Quebec on Nov. 9, 2023. (Submitted by OPP)
OPP say they've partnered with the local police forces in Ottawa, Gatineau and Thunder Bay, as well as provincial counterparts in Quebec.
Police said "street gangs are migrating across Ontario," and attribute that migration to an increase in the number of illegal guns entering communities. They say their joint forces unit aims to reduce the number of illegal firearms in Ontario.
Earlier this summer, the joint forces unit announced it had seized more than $8 million worth of drugs and firearms after arresting 23 people and laying 387 criminal charges.