Ten people charged, eight firearms seized after gun smuggling investigation
Ten people have been charged with 111 offences following a multi-jurisdiction investigation into the importation and distribution of illegal guns into Ontario from the United States.
Police seized eight prohibited weapons - seven handguns and one Tech-9 machine gun, two kilograms of cocaine, various drug trafficking packaging and paraphernalia, $67,000 in Canadian money and $10,500 in American currency, and three vehicles as offence related property.
“Operations like this reduce violent crime in cooperation with the community,” says Windsor police Deputy Chief Vince Power in a news release. “All members of this integrated team deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to duty.”
The investigation, called Project Kirby, began in March 2015 with members of the OPP, Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit.
The joint forces initiated an investigation into the criminal activities involving several residents of Windsor and Essex County, specifically the importation and sale of illegal firearms between Michigan and Ontario.
Project Kirby involved Essex County OPP, Windsor Police Service, Canada Border Services Agency, United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Explosives [ATF] and London Police Service.
Last month, eight search warrants were executed at locations in Essex County, Windsor and London.
As a result, police have charged 10 people with 111 offences including charges relating to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drug and Substances Act and proceeds of crime.
“Criminals involved in smuggling and distributing illegal weapons destined for other organized crime groups in Ontario continue to threaten the safety of all communities, regardless of jurisdiction,” says Det. Insp. James Smyth, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau.
One person remains at large in Canada and is believed to be in either Windsor or the Greater Toronto area. A second person, a United States citizen residing in Michigan, is also wanted.
Several of the accused persons have already appeared at Ontario Courts of Justice at various times and dates.