York regional police say a tip from the public led to a massive meth bust
A tip from a member of the public suspicious about dozens of garbage bags and canisters dumped on a small-town driveway led police north of Toronto to bust two illicit “super labs” suspected of producing methamphetamine for large trafficking networks, officers said Friday.
York regional police said their four-month investigation, which has so far led to the arrest of eight people, resulted in the largest methamphetamine bust the force has seen.
“The scale of these two production sites, we would classify as ‘super labs.’ These are not small, user-based operations,” said Det.-Sgt. Doug Bedford. “These two sites were capable of producing into the hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine and were in fact drug factories.”
Police said they received a public tip in November 2018 about more than 100 garbage bags and plastic canisters on a driveway in East Gwillimbury, Ont. The bags and canisters were found to be filled with the byproducts of synthetic drug manufacturing, they said. A similar dump site was reported to police in December.
Those discoveries eventually led officers to a dormant drug lab in East Gwillimbury and an active one in Innisfil, Ont. Bedford noted that the chemicals used in the labs were extremely dangerous.
Over the course of the investigation, dubbed Project Discard, officers seized more than 21,000 kilograms of toxic waste and 50 kg of methamphetamine, Bedford said.
It’s possible that some of the drugs were ending up in the local community, he said, but it’s likely that most of them were being shipped to larger markets given the quantity being produced.
“The sheer scale of these labs and what they could have produced or may have produced leads me to believe that there’s a larger network of trafficking and distribution, with — no doubt in my mind — exportation to possibly other countries,” Bedford said, noting that regardless of where they end up, it’s important to cut drugs off at the source.
Investigators ultimately arrested four men and four women who are facing charges that include production of a controlled substance, possession of the proceeds of crime and
possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.
A ninth person is wanted on charges that include production of a controlled substance, money laundering and four counts of mischief over $5,000.
Bedford said investigators believe he may be in Vietnam.
“I want the community to feel safe that we’ve dismantled this organized crime group and removed a large quantity of drugs from our streets,” he said.
- Nicole Thompson
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019
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