York Regional Police, in conjunction with the RCMP and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have busted an international drug-smuggling ring that spanned Canada, the United States, and India, according to a press release.
The operation, dubbed Project Cheetah, was launched last May to dismantle an international drug smuggling operation which was "importing large quantities of cocaine, ketamine, heroin and opium into Canada."
50 search warrants were executed on Apr 8 in Ontario, British Columbia, and California and lead to 33 individuals being charged with more than 130 criminal offences. 27 of the individuals charged were from Ontario, including 19 from Brampton, four from Toronto, two from Vaughan, and one from each city of Woodstock and Caledon.
Police seized over $2.3 million worth of drugs including, according to police, "ten kilograms of cocaine, eight kilograms of ketamine, three kilograms of heroin and 2.5 kilograms of opium."
Police also seized 48 firearms during the raids, as well as $730,000 in cash. Of the 48 firearms seized, 46 were found in a single location in Caledon.
According to police, large quantities of drugs were seized from an indoor children's playground in Brampton.
"Of particular concern when we look at heroin, a very insidious drug causing great harm to our community, a number of kilograms are alleged to be seized from a Playland in Brampton," said York Regional Police Inspector Ryan Hogan. "So we can see not only the effects in the community but the real significant risk that it puts the children, some of the most vulnerable people in our community."
"The success of this investigation is a testament to the effective cooperation among multiple agencies across jurisdictions as we pursue the shared objective of public safety," said RCMP Inspector Marwan Zogheib. "The RCMP's resources across Canada and overseas and our partnership with York Regional Police provide a multiplier effect to our collective efforts to dismantle such criminal networks."
One of the suspects of the investigation, 41-year-old Gurbinder Sooch, is still at large.