\”The number of weapons, ammunition and illegal drugs that were seized during this investigation is concerning,\” said Police Chief Bryan Larkin at a news conference held at police headquarters on Friday.
Seized in the investigation were four firearms, three imitation firearms, approximately 427 grams of fentanyl, two syringes of liquid fentanyl, approximately 156 grams of methamphetamine, approximately 39 grams of cocaine powder, approximately 1,100 pills, including hydromorphone and other controlled substances, two drug presses, one conducted energy weapon, one expandable baton. four prohibited knives, approximately 40 rounds of ammunition, one crossbow, counterfeit currency and more than $12,000 in Canadian currency.
30 arrests in massive drug and weapons sweep in Cambridge and Kitchener
\”We have a significant drug addiction problem in our region, and beyond, which is driving a significant amount of crime and public disorder.\”
The investigation, named Project Piece, took four months and included nine search warrants — eight in Cambridge and one in Kitchener.
It led to 115 charges against two people from Kitchener and 28 people from Cambridge, aged 17 to 59. They include drug trafficking, stolen property and weapons charges.
• Four guns, three imitation guns, four prohibited knives, a crossbow, 40 rounds of ammunition, a stun gun and an expandable baton.
• Illicit drugs with a street value of $140,000, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine powder, and pills including hydromorphone and other narcotics.
\”The arrests had a direct impact on the illicit drug activity in the city of Cambridge, as well as significantly disrupting networks across the Region of Waterloo,\” said Larkin.
Information about a \”significant\” drug trafficking network in the Cambridge led police to focus their attention on the city, said Larkin.
\”The reality is, the three homicides that weve had this year in the region are all within the city of Cambridge,\” the chief said.
\”Theyre dealing with some significant challenges and issues that are very well-publicized and we felt that it was appropriate for us to target and invest resources in the city of Cambridge.\”
Over the past 12 months, violent crime has increased 15 per cent in the region, \”which really takes us back to around 2008 levels of crime,\” Larkin said.
\”Over the last number of years theres been an increase in criminal activity in the Greater Toronto Area, in southern Ontario, and within our region — much of it related to the illicit drug trafficking network, street gang activity, organized crime and hence the use of illegal firearms.\”
He said that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 4, Waterloo Regional Police collected 621 firearms. Of those, police seized 252 guns in situations involving family violence or other public safety situations and in the executing of warrants. Many of the other firearms were either found or turned over to police for destruction.
\”Ten years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, the seizure of a firearm was pretty significant — its a weekly occurrence now,\” he said.
Police seized firearms in every one of the 30 controlled drug and substance act warrants executed this year.
\”It speaks to the subculture, the drug culture, that is one built around violence, intimidation, (and a) really strong presence of weapons.\”
A four-month investigation into violent crimes and the illicit drug trade in Cambridge has resulted in 30 people being arrested and 115 charges, the Waterloo Regional Police Service says.
The investigation, dubbed Project Piece, saw people between the ages of 17 and 59 arrested, Chief Bryan Larkin said Friday.
Of the charges, 68 were Criminal Code offences, 41 were under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and there were six Provincial Offences. The estimated street value of the drugs is $140,000.
Officers also seized other drugs including approximately 156 grams of methamphetamine, 39 grams of cocaine and 1,100 pills, including hydromorphone and other controlled substances, as well as counterfeit currency and more than $12,000 in Canadian currency.
Larkin says the service focused on Cambridge for this investigation after they saw a rise in crime there.
So far this year, all three of Waterloo region's homicides were in Cambridge. All three were the result of gun violence.
Larkin said the seizures of drugs and weapons would result in a "significant disruption to the street trade."
"The number of weapons, ammunition and illegal drugs that were seized during this investigation is concerning, and it ought to be concerning to us, it ought to be concerning to our community," he said.
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