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Project Drifter leads to massive drug bust and arrests

'By sharing resources, the investigative team continues work together to identify and take enforcement action against those involved in the illegal sale of controlled substances'
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It may not be the biggest drug bust in North Bay history but North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod is hoping the news of this recent bust will show residents, businesses, and politicians that they are putting a dent in the illicit drug industry in the area. 

The OPP and city police held a joint press conference at the North Bay Police Headquarters to show off the results of an investigation that began in September. Through that collaboration, 30 people have been arrested and 106 charges have been laid.

Scott Tod, North Bay’s Police Chief, says early in the investigation they realized this was more than just about North Bay. That's how Project Drifter started. 

“It started off as looking at the drug trafficking primarily in the downtown area of North Bay. But what we realize now is the influences that are coming into North Bay are vast across the region and we mentioned Mattawa, Temiscaming, Quebec. We have also seen connections to West Nipissing and further than that going west. What we have learned is there is a group of criminals within North Bay and the community that actually prey upon people who suffer from mental health, addictions and other concerns - social and safety concerns in our community,” said Tod during the Friday media conference.  

Karl Thomas, Acting OPP Superintendent, says Project Drifter was a joint investigation with different tips coming in from different sources.

"It was a collaborative approach between services in Ontario and Quebec and that is the importance of sharing the intelligence information and enforcement as time goes on," said Thomas, noting more charges could be laid in the future relating to this investigation.  

By sharing resources, the Project Drifter investigative team will continue to work together to identify and take enforcement action against those involved in the illegal sale of controlled substances that manipulate and take advantage of individuals struggling with substance abuse. 

The drug bust was significant including the following.

  • 274.3 grams of suspected Fentanyl
  • 15 suspected Fentanyl patches
  • 6 grams of suspected heroin
  • 364 grams of suspected methamphetamine
  • 5.5 grams of suspected cocaine
  • 6 Percocet tablets
  • 0.3 grams of suspected shatter
  • 30 grams of suspected marijuana
  • 14 cell phones
  • 12 firearms
  • $17,291 in cash 

Four motor vehicles have also been seized.

  • 2011 Honda Accord (offence related property)
  • Honda SRV (Impounded HTA Offences)
  • Chevrolet Camaro (Impounded HTA Offences)
  • Chevrolet Canyon.  (Impounded HTA Offences)

The following people are charged as a result of Project Drifter:

From North Bay:

  • James HENDRY
  • Justin VAILLANCOURT 
  • Brandt MOORE 
  • Stephanie LECLAIR 
  • Daniel LAROCQUE
  • Taylor MACKENZIE 
  • Darian LAFRENIER 
  • Michael SMITH 
  • Reginald BURNEY-LEMURE 
  • James CLINKARD 
  • Savanna GINGRAS 
  • kyle KWIARKOWSKI 
  • Jillian MABEY 
  • Davis MCCALLUM 
  • Jaska VENASSE 
  • Benjamin ADAMS
  • Brian FIELDS 

From Callander:

  • Roy DESVREAUX 
  • Philip LACHANCE 

From West Nipissing

  • Fabian BEAUCAGE 
  • Benjamin SCRIVER 
  • Jasmine FITZGERALD 

Others:

  • Zoe GATES-HEALEY of East Ferris
  • Cory LAMARRE of Bonfield
  • Theodore DOUCETTE of Mattawa
  • Danielle LEDUC-MITCHELL of Temiskaming Quebec
  • Helen SCHROEDER of Kipawa Quebec
  • Eric JODOUIN of Hanmer
  • Erik SHOLETTE of Patterson Township
  • Michelle BRYANT of Hamilton



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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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