Significant quantities of cash and cocaine along with six firearms were seized after Toronto police joined with several southern Ontario law enforcement agencies in coordinated search warrants in the early morning hours of June 4.
Project Pharaoh, which began in September 2014, targeted a street gang – Monstarz – that operated mainly in northwest Toronto.
At a press conference at 23 Division, Inspector Bryan Bott of the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force, said 50 search warrants were executed this morning in Toronto, Peel, Halton, Hamilton, Barrie, Bradford, Durham and St. Catharines. The case was led by the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force and the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit.
“It was a coordinated effort of about 700 police officers from Southern Ontario,” he said. “Prior to today’s enforcement, 27 persons were arrested in relation to this investigation and 44 search warrants executed. Those incarcerated will be facing further charges.”
Bott said six firearms, 34 kilos of cocaine and about $45,000 in cash were seized during the operation.
“We also seized other drugs and vehicles from the proceeds of crime,” added Bott.
He said the Monstarz were targeted because of their involvement in 44 specific incidents of violence in the city, including homicides, robberies and shootings.
“They were at the receiving end of that violence and sometimes they precipitated it,” said Bott. “…This was a mid-level street gang and the allegations are they were involved in a criminal organization trafficking firearms and drugs.”
Superintendent Ron Taverner, the unit commander at 23 Division, said the gang was on his radar.
“We believe this was a criminal organization and they were responsible for a number of violent crimes in and around the northwest quadrant of the city and this community in particular,” he pointed out. “By the investigations that took place and the raids that were coordinated, we have certainly arrested some of the main targets we were looking for and disrupted a very violent criminal organization and seized some property and weapons.”
Toronto Police will provide an update on the investigation on June 5 at police headquarters.