ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
A six-month investigation has led to the execution of nine search warrants, the seizure of illicit drugs that were destined for our streets and the arrest of 11 suspects. A network of individuals with connections to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are facing numerous Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and Criminal Code charges, including charges related to organized crime.
Project Garfield has been a collaborative and cooperative effort led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Central Region Community Street Crime Units (CSCU), with assistance from Barrie Police Service (BPS) and Toronto Police Service (TPS). The investigation began in December 2020 when police became aware of a network of individuals from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with ties to GTA-based street gangs, responsible for trafficking fentanyl and crack cocaine in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka.
The network of individuals has operated as a criminal organization, with multiple individuals involved in facilitating drug transactions. Through analysis, this network has been linked to both fatal and non-fatal overdose occurrences between January 2020 and February 2021 in Simcoe County, including the City of Barrie, as well as the District of Muskoka.
On May 20, 2021, police executed a total of nine warrants in Barrie (one), Toronto (four), Oshawa (two), Markham (one) and Ajax (one). Members from OPP CSCU, Emergency Response Team (ERT), Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) as well as members of specialty units from BPS, TPS, Durham Regional Police Service, Peterborough Police Service, Peel Regional Police and York Regional Police assisted with the execution of the search warrants.
As a result of this investigation, police seized:
- 427 grams of fentanyl
- 734 grams of cocaine
- 53 grams of crack cocaine
- 30 hydromorphone pills
- 15 oxycodone pills
- Approximately $109,000 Canadian currency
- Four handguns
- Five vehicles
- Drug trafficking paraphernalia
- Cellular phones
The amount of fentanyl seized in this investigation represents approximately 4,144 street level doses.
Eleven people are facing 148 CDSA and Criminal Code charges including trafficking cocaine and fentanyl, possession of property obtained by crime and participation in a criminal organization. A full list can be found on the Addendum of Charged Persons included as an attachment to this release.
Upon arrest, six (6) of the accused were remanded into custody, three (3) were released on an undertaking and two (2) were released on a recognizance. The accused are expected to appear at an Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie on various dates in May and June, 2021.
"Project Garfieldhas had significant impact on the proliferation of illicit and dangerous substances from the Greater Toronto Area into the City of Barrie, Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka. Law enforcement plays a crucial role in combatting the opioid crisis as the enforcement action against drug traffickers has a direct and substantial effect on the supply of harmful drugs in our communities. Organized crime has no boundaries and I am proud of the partnerships developed to assist in cohesively dismantling this criminal organization." - OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox, Provincial Commander, Investigations and Organized Crime
"The blatant disregard for human life that this drug trafficking network represents has no place in our community or in the communities that they attempted to establish themselves within. Project Garfield characterizes a collaborative initiative that was undertaken by a dedicated group of law enforcement professionals and their police services. Collectively, law enforcement set out to and successfully dismantled a criminal organization that plagued many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, Barrie, County of Simcoe and the District of Muskoka. Today, our communities are safer as a result of the combined efforts of every police officer involved." - Barrie Police Service Chief Kimberley Greenwood
As a law enforcement organization, the OPP's role in the opioid crisis is to investigate opioid-related incidences with an acute focus on the apprehension of those who produce, import and traffic illegal drugs. Police are targeting organized crime groups responsible for distributing opioids and holding them accountable for trafficking these drugs that contribute to the opioid crisis in our province.
To find out more about the dangers of fentanyl and short term antidotes, we encourage everyone to click here, part of an awareness campaign supported by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). Click here for more resources, including annual reports on opioids in OPP jurisdictions.