GAINSBOROUGH project sees $ 32 million in illegal and contraband drugs seized


Ontario Provincial Police Media Backgrounder

LONDON – NEWS – A 16-month intelligence investigation into a drug trafficking ring has ended, leading to major seizures of illegal cannabis and its derivatives, valued at more than $ 32 million. A total of 21 members or associates of a criminal organization were arrested and charged with 118 offenses under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (LRDS), Cannabis Act and Criminal Code, including charges related to organized crime.

“The illegal cannabis trade continues to be dominated by organized crime. The legalization of cannabis has not removed the involvement of these organized criminal groups as it remains a lucrative commodity and is often used to fund other criminal activities. Associates of this organized criminal group are also responsible for cocaine trafficking in the London area. For criminals who seek to compromise the safety of our communities by trafficking in these illegal goods, the OPP and our law enforcement partners will continue to relentlessly pursue them, seize their property and dismantle. their operations, ”said OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox, Investigation and Organized Crime.

Following this investigation, the police seized:

  • 495 kilograms of illegal cannabis resin / oil;
  • 7,166 kilograms of illegal cannabis buds;
  • Approximately 10,000 packages of illegal cannabis edibles;
  • 2,773 kilograms of illegal cannabis shake;
  • 185 kilograms of illegal cannabis shards;
  • 15,343 illegal cannabis plants;
  • 65 kilograms of psilocybin;
  • 124 grams of cocaine;
  • 28 oxycodone tablets;
  • 50 hydromorphone tablets;
  • Cultivation equipment valued at over $ 653,000;
  • Six firearms and ammunition, including four handguns, one .22 caliber rifle and one 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun;
  • Over CA $ 53,000 in foreign currency; and
  • Six vehicles as offense-related property, with a combined value of approximately $ 163,000.

The drugs seized in this investigation have an estimated market value of over $ 32 million.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Office and London Police Service (LPS) launched Project GAINSBOROUGH in June 2020 after police became aware of the wide distribution scale of illegal cannabis and cannabis derivatives, as well as cocaine trafficking, in the London area.

Police were able to identify a sophisticated criminal organization responsible for operating an illegal cannabis website with delivery service in London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto. Members and associates of this criminal organization have also been implicated in the export of illegal cannabis and cannabis derivatives to many places in the country and around the world, notably in Europe and South America.

As a result, investigators from the GAINSBOROUGH project identified two underground cannabis extraction labs located in Brampton and Middlesex County. With the help of Peel Regional Police, LPS and the OPP Clandestine Laboratory Response Team, police were able to dismantle the laboratories and ensure that there is no problem for public safety. Cannabis extraction laboratories can present significant dangers to the community. These labs are often operated by unskilled people and typically contain highly explosive, flammable, and toxic substances needed to complete the extraction process. Associated risks include fires, explosions, noxious fumes and exposure to chemicals as well as environmental damage and waste.

On November 3, 2021, police executed 15 search warrants at locations in London (8), Hamilton (2), Toronto (1), St. Thomas (1), Middlesex County (1) and County of Norfolk (2). Members of the OPP OCEB, Community Street Crime Unit, Emergency Response Team, Canine, Digital Forensics, Forensic Identification Service, Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit, Middlesex County Detachment, Biker Enforcement Unit and Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team as well as the LPS, Le Toronto Police Department, St. Thomas Police Department, Hamilton Police Service and Woodstock Police Service Dog Unit were involved in the execution of the warrants.

A total of 21 people were charged with 118 offenses, including offenses related to criminal organizations.

Upon their arrest, three of the accused were taken into police custody. The remaining 18 have been released and are scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in London on various dates in November and December 2021.

“Like many other cities, London has been directly affected by the illegal drug trade and the dangers associated with it. We are pleased that this criminal organization has been exposed and held accountable by the justice system, ”concluded Detective Superintendent Paul Waight, Criminal Investigations Division, London Police Service.


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