Ontario police make 114 arrests in crackdown on organized crime
Toronto police arrested 73 gang members of the “Chester Le gang” on 599 charges in an eight-month-long investigation called “Project Kraken”.
In total $400,000 in drugs and 23 illegally obtained firearms were seized. Among the drugs taken off the streets were “over 1050 grams of cocaine, over 1100 grams of fentanyl, over 1100 grams of Clonazepam, over 840 grams of Percocet and other drugs seized”, according to an official Toronto Police Service news release.
“Investigators were able to substantiate and now allege that the Chester Le gang (was) involved in extensive gun and drug activity. Investigators were also able to allege that numerous members of this gang committed brazen armed robberies while having a callous disregard for public safety,” said Deputy Chief James Ramer.
The criminals were mainly young men, several middle aged individuals and one young offender. The following men had an extensive number of charges:
Omer Gharibzada: 19 charges
Mohamed Aden: 25 charges
Fayaz Alakoozi: 22 charges
Shadab Nabizada: 24 charges
Kennedy Richards-Coleman: 29 charges
The street gang which was called a “coordinated criminal organization” is believed to have ties to traditional organized crime. Among the charges are numerous gun and drug trafficking crimes, as well as some robbery charges.
The guns were believed to be smuggled for the purpose of an ongoing turf war and were being carried by tow truck operators.
Police in Ontario have made 114 arrests and laid 800 criminal charges in a year-long operation against a Toronto-based gang. Police allege the Eglinton West Crips gang are responsible for crimes such as murder, attempted murder, firearms offences, drug trafficking and human trafficking."
On Thursday, Ontario Provincial Police and multiple municipal police put out a joint-statement announcing that Project Sunder had decimated the Eglinton West Crips gang.
“What started as a local investigation into a dangerous street gang known as the Eglinton West Crips turned into a complex, multi-jurisdictional project involving arrests in 15 different cities,” said Toronto Police Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw.
“Thanks to the cooperation of these other police services, we have been successful in dismantling this criminal organization and taking guns and drugs off the streets of many communities.”
Police seized 31 firearms, seven kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of fentanyl and two kilograms of crystal meth through searches across Ontario.
The Eglinton West Crips is considered a highly violent criminal gang with an extensive network across Ontario. According to OPP Chief Supt. Paul Mackey, police cooperation between multiple agencies has effectively dismantled the gang.
“Urban-based organized crime groups are increasing in sophistication and have developed province-wide criminal networks from Ottawa to Thunder Bay and in most places in between,” he said.
“No community is immune – criminals do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, and as law enforcement, we consistently adapt our investigative techniques to mitigate this.”
In the past year Toronto police have executed multiple operations against gangs in the city. Last summer, Toronto police arrested 73 gang members of the “Chester Le gang” on 599 charges. Drugs with a street value of $400,000 and 23 illegally obtained firearms were also seized.
Gang violence continues to remain a significant issue in the city, with a sharp increase since the city banned street checks and carding.
During the pandemic there has been an increase in gun violence, coinciding with claims that gang members have used CERB cheques to purchase illegal guns.