Project Kraken Targets Gangs, Drugs and Guns

Deputy Chief James Ramer, OPP Acting Chief Superintendent Karl Thomas, RCMP Chief Superintendent Michael Lesage, York Deputy Chief Brian Bigras
Deputy Chief James Ramer, OPP Acting Chief Superintendent Karl Thomas, RCMP Chief Superintendent Michael Lesage, York Deputy Chief Brian Bigras

TORONTO – A major project attacking gangs and drug trafficking by Toronto Police Service has resulted in a drug bust that has the possibility to impact the Thunder Bay drug illegal drug trade.

Toronto Police unveiled results of the operation at a press conference earlier today in Toronto. Project Kraken targeted a street gang – Chester Le Gang – that it is alleged was operating as a highly coordinated criminal organization and was involved in illegal activities that posed a direct threat to community safety.

At a news conference at police headquarters on June 28, Deputy Chief James Ramer said that intelligence-led investigators to believe that members of the Chester Le Gang and their associates were involved in numerous violent incidents and activities in the last four years. This included attempted murder, firearms occurrences, drug trafficking and numerous robberies.

“In two of the robberies, two trucks smashed their way through jewelry stores and firearms were discharged,” notes Ramer. “It is further alleged based on evidence gathered that the Chester Le Gang operated as a coordinated criminal organization. Many of the charges laid reflect this allegation.”

The gang, Ramer added, is connected to several murders.

Police report that in the early morning hours of June 27, hundreds of police officers from 12 Ontario Police Services executed 41 search warrants and three arrest warrants in Toronto, Hamilton, South Simcoe, Peel, York and Durham.

Charges relate to offences including participating in activities of a criminal organization, possession of controlled substances, armed robbery, drug trafficking and possession of a loaded firearm.

Among the group arrested is a young offender who faces several charges, including breach of a peace bond, participating in activities of a criminal organization and possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking.

In addition to 23 firearms seized with an estimated street value of $84,000, police also took possession of 1,058 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of $116,000, 11,033 grams of fentanyl with a street value of $250,000 and $92,000 in Canadian currency.

Prior to yesterday, 18 people were arrested in connection with the eight-month investigation led by the Major Projects Section of the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force.

Project Kraken also identified Chester Le Gang members who are involved in an extensive drug trafficking network.

“The predominant drug trafficked is fentanyl,” said Ramer. “It is alleged that members were trafficking fentanyl to communities in Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Peterborough… Working in collaboration with our partner agencies, Project Kraken has significantly disrupted the criminal operations and the hierarchy of the Chester Le Gang.”