Canadian law enforcement agents were Wednesday confident that they would be able to arrest a Guyanese man who was alleged part of a 13-member ring that that saw cocaine, prescription pills and handguns smuggled into Ontario from the United States and the Caribbean.
He is 32-year-old Dwidth Ferguson of Georgetown, Guyana, who Canadian authorities say is still outstanding and wanted for importation and trafficking charges.
“We’ll get him,” Barnum said. “It will just take a little bit of time” said Ontario Provincial Police, Chief Supt. Rick Barnum.
Ferguson is a key associate of Hits and Jams, a company that is into entertainment and radio and television broadcasting.
CP24.com reported that twelve people arrested across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) face a total of 46 charges in connection with a year-long investigation
Barnum said that since 2014, drugs would arrive at Pearson International Airport in luggage and other containers aboard planes arriving from California, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Guyana. Most of the drugs were to be sold in the GTA-area, but some were shipped onwards to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Over the same period of time, handguns traced back to Florida were brought into Canada, also via Pearson International Airport, Barnum said.
A number of search warrants were conducted earlier this week in and around the GTA, leading to the seizure of 22 firearms, $146,000 in cash, four cars and when combined with the hauls from three other related investigations, a total of 123 kilograms of cocaine.
The wholesale value of the drugs seized is estimated to be $12.2 million.
Barnum said the individuals in custody are not suspected to be low-level players in the operation.
“These are the folks that organize and arrange serious importation into our country and our province,” he said.
Barnum said the investigation led to additional arrests in the United States and Newfoundland.
He added that the 100 or more officers tasked with conducting the investigation succeeded by “being there when (the accused) let their guard down.”
“This industry of dealing drugs and firearms is really based on greed. Sometimes these folks are so greedy and think they’re so good at their game, but we’ll be there when they’re not,” he said.
The investigation, dubbed “Project Monto,” involved the OPP, RCMP, York Regional Police, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and various law enforcement agencies from the United States.
Ten men and two women from Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan and Toronto were taken into custody without incident. They face charges including importation of cocaine, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and conspiracy.