RCMP and Toronto Police bust major Opium importation operation

On May 12, 2010, the RCMP Greater Toronto Area Drug Section, in partnership with the Toronto Police Major Drug Unit and the Canada Border Services Agency, completed a 15 month investigation into the importation of opium and trafficking of heroin in the Greater Toronto Area. Simultaneous search warrants executed at nine locations resulted in the seizure of approximately 10,000 ecstasy pills and seven arrests. Arrest warrants will be issued for two remaining suspects.

As a result of the interception of a shipment of opium in January 2009, investigators were able to create an historical time line of opium shipments dating back to 2005. The shipments, destined for Toronto and York Region, originated in the Middle East and followed various shipping routes through Europe and North America. Using information from the shipments to locate the suspects, police conducted an extensive investigation and gathered evidence linking a loosely-structured Middle Eastern criminal enterprise to various importations totalling 37 kilograms of opium as well as trafficking approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin.

Throughout the investigation, RCMP and Toronto Police Service worked closely with the Canada Border Services Agency and collaborated with international partner agencies.

"This investigation is a result of the collective efforts of many dedicated investigators and demonstrates that inter-agency cooperation is fundamental in tackling such complex criminal enterprises," said RCMP Superintendent Rick Penney.

"The pooling and sharing of resources from multi-jurisdictional enforcement agencies combined with cooperation from the community is critical in the successful disruption and dismantling of these criminal organizations," said TPS Staff Inspector Mario Di Tommaso.

9 individuals face various charges including possession of opium, importing opium, conspiracy to import opium, trafficking heroin, possession of ecstasy for the purpose of trafficking, and laundering proceeds of crime.

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