18 People Charged; Fentanyl and Weapons Seized

Several Ontario and Quebec residents face numerous charges following a multi-jurisdiction investigation into illegal firearms and the trafficking of illegal drugs in Ontario, Québec and the United States.

Project Silkstone began as a high-level Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) investigation targeting multiple criminal groups involved in trafficking illegal drugs and guns along the Highway 401 corridor between the Greater Toronto Area, through the Belleville/Bay of Quinte Region and Montréal, Québec. The investigation also revealed drug trafficking activities to and from the United States.

At a news conference today, OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM and representatives from the project’s partner agencies unveiled details of the investigation and samples of the evidence seized during the 18-month probe. Project SILKSTONE was conducted by OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Sûreté du Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The investigation was also supported by The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). Members of the OPP Emergency Response Team, OPP OCEB, Peel Regional Police Tactical and Rescue Unit, and the Toronto Police Service Emergency Task Force (ETF) assisted with executing the search warrants. Several search warrants were executed earlier this week at locations across southeastern Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area and Montréal, Québec.

During the course of the investigation, the project team combined to seize 11,500 pills containing fentanyl, eight (8) kilograms of cocaine, 7.5 kilograms of MDMA (ecstasy), 260 grams of methamphetamine, 7,200 marihuana plants from an indoor grow operation, 180 pounds of processed marihuana bud, cases of vapes containing THC – known as ‘JuJu Joints’, drug paraphernalia and equipment. Project SILKSTONE investigators seized 23 firearms including three (3) pistols and 20 long guns, $69,000.00 in Canadian currency and $500.00 in U-S currency, $50,000.00 worth of casino chips, equipment and supplies from an illegal identity card-making operation, Radio Frequency (RF) detecting devices, and ‘colours’ from an outlaw motorcycle gang. In addition, four (4) vehicles, an enclosed trailer and a snowmobile were seized as offence-related property.

OPP have charged 18 people with 81 offences including charges relating to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Criminal Code of Canada.

The accused persons were held in custody upon arrest and are expected to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville at various times and dates. The investigation continues.

“By dismantling a criminal operation of this magnitude, we’ve literally prevented more than 11-thousand ‘doses of death’ of fentanyl and illegal guns from killing people in our communities. Project Silkstone again demonstrates how effective law enforcement is at working together to target criminality. Police leaders continue to send a very clear message to criminals that – regardless of jurisdiction – police will continue to identify and aggressively pursue those individuals who threaten public safety.”– Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, Provincial Commander OPP Investigations and Organized Crime

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