Three Ontario residents have been charged following another intercontinental investigation that prevented 55 kilograms of near-pure cocaine from entering the criminal drug supply says an OPP news release.
Project TATTLER began in December 2017 as an Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau project that assembled intelligence information linked to a mounting and inherent drug trend being observed. The investigation team gathered evidence of individuals from central Ontario smuggling cocaine from the United States (California) into Canada and then distributing it throughout central and western Ontario and in the Greater Toronto Area.
The drug distribution network had an international nexus to the United States, with proceeds being dispersed throughout the complex organization in Ontario, as well as money linked flowing back to Mexico.
During the investigation, police seized 55 kilogram 'bricks' of cocaine (wholesale value $2.45-million; estimated potential minimum street value once cut of $5.5-million) and $800-thousand in Canadian currency. One pick-up truck, a tractor trailer, and three off-road vehicles, including two 'high-end' side-by-sides and a snowmobile - all worth a combined $260-thousand - have been restrained as Proceeds of Crime and offence-related property.
At a news conference in Barrie, Wednesday, OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum and representatives from the project's partner agencies unveiled details of the investigation and displayed the evidence and cash assets seized. The investigation included participation from members of the OPP-led Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and specialty support units, the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit, Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Revenue Agency, and the United States - Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
Three people are charged with 14 offences contrary to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act(CDSA) and the Criminal Code of Canada.
"The OPP recognize that illegal drugs threaten community safety and inflict harm in our communities," said Barnum. "With the amount of cocaine seized during Project TATTLER, we have again stopped criminals from causing more harm while removing potential profits from the criminal economy that fuel lavish criminal lifestyles."