Project Hope ends in largest single drug seizure in OPP history
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says it has concluded an intercontinental investigation, dubbed Project Hope, which has netted 1,062 kilograms of pure cocaine – the largest single drug seizure in OPP history.
At a news conference at OPP General Headquarters in Orillia, Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes, Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum and representatives from the project’s partner agencies unveiled details of the investigation and the stack of the evidence seized. The wholesale value of this seizure is estimated to be worth $60 million, while the eventual street value, once cut, is approximately $250 million.
Project Hope was conducted by the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) and Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau (POIB) in partnership with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Peel Regional Police, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
During the course of the investigation, three individuals responsible for importing enormous quantities of cocaine from Argentina were identified and linked to cocaine transported on ocean-going vessels in shipping containers to the Port of Montreal for distribution in Ontario. Over the course of several months, the OPP worked with CBSA to identify the containers and locations. Subsequent investigation identified links to various caches of cocaine at a CBSA warehouse, at the Port of Montreal and in Stoney Creek, Ont.
“The OPP recognize that illegal drugs cause grievous harm and threaten community safety,” Hawkes said. “With the amount of pure cocaine seized during Project Hope, we’ve stopped many criminals from causing more harm to our communities while removing a quarter of a billion dollars from the criminal economy.”