DRYDEN – SPECIAL to NNL -Drug Bust in Dryden Sees 37 Arrests – Thirty-seven people have been charged from Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Ignace and surrounding areas in a six month undercover operation, named Project Ghost, leading to 153 drug related charges laid. Drugs purchased and seized during the investigation were 185 grams of cocaine, 14 pounds of marijuana and 2,121 Oxycodone tablets. The street value of the drugs seized is $245,309.
Officers also seized $125,000 in Canadian currency and offence related property including several vehicles worth an estimated $70,000.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) Drug Enforcement Unit and Asset Forfieture Unit in partnership with the Dryden Police Service, Treaty 3 Police Service and Anishinabek Police Service worked together to make the bust with approximately 80 officers, in the early morning of Thursday, November 25.
Undercover officers were successful in infiltrating local drug traffickers and making numerous drug purchases. The investigation concluded with the execution of seven search warrants and multiple arrests.
OPP Deputy Director, Tom Girling, Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau North and Program Manager Drug Enforcement said, “These drugs were destined for local and First Nations communities. The arrests yesterday sent a clear and strong message to criminal organizations that dangerous activities such as drug dealing, will not be tolerated”.
Chief Shayne MacKinnon of the Dryden Police Service stated, “If you are a user of illegal drugs, or taking illegal prescription drugs, get off them. If you sell illegal drugs or if you sell your prescription medication, we will arrest you. If you live off the addiction and misery of others, by selling your prescription of illegal drugs, youÕre gonna go to jail”.
Although it’s difficult to measure the amount of drugs within the communities at one time, Girling does ensure that the bust made an impact brought the awareness to a much higher level.
“Without a doubt, when ever you arrest 37 people in fairly small communities around northwestern Ontario, it’s going to have a huge impact on the volume of drugs and throughout the communities,” says OPP Active Chief Superintendent Frank Elbers, Director Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau North East.
OPP Detective Staff Sargant Chris Lawrence, Operation Manager says through supply and demand, the bust will bring the quantity of pills on the street down, but will drive the prices of the pills still on the streets higher. He says from an enforcement perspective, it’s a great success, but from a social perspective, there will be more issues to be tackled.
Although the supply in the community is now much lower with the large amount of drugs being seized, police donÕt feel there is a threat to the rate of violence to obtain drugs going up.
“Generally speaking, we havenÕt seen that in the past, and we’ve run many of these types of operations,” says Girling. “We do have concern though, for those individuals who are addicted and we want them to get treatment and help and we’ll do everything we can to assist in that way.”
Enforcement is being stepped up in the airports, and education is being provided to communities.
“Unused pills, get them to the pharmacies or the local nursing stations to have them destroyed properly,” says Treaty 3 Police Chief Conrad Delaronde. “Innocently, children are being used to buy their friends. What they’ve got in their cabinets, and not even knowing what the effects of those pills are, and just taking them randomly. We’re doing a lot of good education.”
Ally Dunham for NNL.