Suspects Arrested in Connection with Pearson Airport-Located Drug Ring
Eleven people have been arrested following a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into a drug trafficking ring.
The Kitchener RCMP says it directly infiltrated several high-level drug trafficking groups supplying fentanyl and other illicit drugs to markets in the GTA and Southwestern Ontario in an undercover operation. It conducted raids in Hamilton, Toronto, Durham, Brantford and Kitchener.
Police allege the investigation also revealed that members of a cocaine importation ring were working out of Toronto Pearson International Airport in Peel.
This investigation, dubbed project OWoodcraft, has prompted the arrests of 11 people who have been charged with 40 offences, including trafficking in fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine as well as attempting to import cocaine.
"The trafficking of fentanyl is a top priority for the law enforcement community in Canada. Undercover operations during this project saw police purchase approximately 9 kilograms of fentanyl and several kilograms of other illicit drugs over several transactions," police said in a statement.
"These drugs could have been diluted significantly, meaning a much higher drug volume would have been distributed to the streets."
The RCMP says it seized approximately 10 kg of fentanyl, 1.3 kg heroin, 1 kg methamphetamine and 30 kg of marijuana as well as smaller amounts of carfentanil and cocaine.
The street value of the seized drugs is estimated to be $10 Million.
Police also say that approximately $400,000 in cash was seized, as well as three vehicles worth approximately $170,000.
The investigation relating to the importation of cocaine resulted in the arrest of two Sunwing Airlines employees working at Pearson Airport.
Police say the accused have been charged with attempting to import cocaine and trafficking cocaine. The RCMP says Sunwing Airlines assisted with the investigation.
Police say 46-year-old Mississauga man Gianni Ballestrin has been charged with one count attempting to import a controlled substance (cocaine) and one count of trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine).
Police also say 40-year-old Kitchener man Andrej Marek Krawczyk is facing charges related to alleged cocaine trafficking.
“Those who traffic in illicit drugs destroy lives and impact the safety and security of our communities. The RCMP and our many partners will continue to work together closely to eradicate those dangers,” said C/Supt. Michael LeSage, Criminal Operations Officer for the O Division RCMP, in a statement.
“Project OWoodcraft demonstrates how the efforts of law enforcement agencies, other government departments, and private sector partnerships at a local, national and international level, can work effectively to combat crime.”
For a full list of charges, click here.
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