Ontario Provincial Police and the London Police Service say they have have dismantled a large drug trafficking organization that was selling and shipping illegal cannabis products across the globe.
The joint 16-month long investigation into illegal marijuana trafficking in London, Ont. resulted in the seizure of $32 million worth of illegal drugs.
Police say a total of 21 people have been charged with 118 offences, including charges related to organized crime and offences under the Cannabis Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Project GAINSBOROUGH: $32 million in illegal cannabis after an investigation into a criminal organization trafficking illegal cannabis. 21 people charged with 118 offences https://t.co/ea64XAaJin
— Ontario Provincial Police (@OPP_News) November 16, 2021
The OPP and London police began Project Gainsborough in June 2020 when they became aware of a large-scale distribution of illegal marijuana products and cocaine trafficking in the London area. The investigation was able to uncover a criminal organizations that was operating an illegal cannabis website making deliveries to London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto.
“This investigation has been extremely successful in removing millions of dollars worth of illegal cannabis from being distributed in our communities,” said OPP Detective Inspector Jim Walker. “The success of an investigation this size would not be possible without the dedication of the investigative team.”
On Nov. 3, police executed 8 search warrants in London and 7 other search warrants at various locations in Hamilton, Toronto, St. Thomas, Middlesex County and Norfolk County. More than 200 officers were involved in the execution of the warrants.
“Officers from the OPP and the London Police Service have worked tirelessly to successfully gather evidence against the members and associated of this criminal organization.”
As a result of the investigation, police seized:
495 kilograms of illegal cannabis resin/oil
7,166 kilograms of illegal cannabis bud
Approximately 10,000 packages of illegal cannabis edibles
2,773 kilograms of illegal cannabis shake
185 kilograms of illegal cannabis shatter
15,343 illegal cannabis plants
65 kilograms of psilocybin
124 grams of cocaine
28 oxycodone pills
50 hydromorphone pills
Grow equipment valued at more than $653,000
Six firearms and ammunition, including four handguns, a .22 cal rifle and a 12 gauge sawed off shotgun
More than $53,000 CAD currency
Six vehicles as offence-related property, with a combined value of approximately $163,000
Police say the organization was also delivering illegal cannabis products to a number of other locations in Canada and around the world.
“Like many other cities, London has been directly impacted by the illegal drug trade, and the dangers that are associated with it,” said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight. “We are pleased that this criminal organization has been exposed and will be held accountable by the justice system.”