Winnipeg – Massive Drug Bust Spanning Ontario and Manitoba

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Winnipeg Police

Trigger Warning: This article discusses subjects involving drug trafficking and violence, which might be distressing to some readers. Please consider your mental health before continuing.

Overview of Project Soft Landing

WINNIPEG – NEWS – In May 2023, the Winnipeg Police Service’s Organized Crime Unit initiated Project Soft Landing, a significant inter-provincial investigation targeting a sophisticated drug network believed to be moving millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs and firearms from the Greater Toronto Area into Winnipeg.

This network ingeniously utilized couriers, railways, and bus lines to facilitate their operations, highlighting a complex criminal infrastructure that spans across provincial lines.

Role of National Law Enforcement in the Investigation

The success of Project Soft Landing can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of several law enforcement agencies across Canada. This included the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC), and multiple police services from Brandon, Ontario Provincial, Hamilton, Peel Regional, Toronto, Halton, Vancouver, and even the Via Rail Canada Police.

Their united front underscores the critical nature of inter-agency cooperation in addressing organized crime that crosses provincial boundaries.

Details of the Seizure: What Was Found?

On March 6, 2024, law enforcement officers executed twenty-two Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrants across Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia.

These raids resulted in the seizure of 1.7 million Canadian dollars, approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine, four handguns (including two 3D printed ones), a sub-machine gun with a suppressor, loaded magazines, ammunition, and a variety of other items indicative of high-level trafficking operations.

This investigation was successful due to the assistance of multiple police services and agencies, including:

  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC)
  • Brandon Police Service
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Hamilton Police Service
  • Peel Regional Police Service
  • Toronto Police Service
  • Halton Police Service
  • Vancouver Police Service
  • Via Rail Canada Police

On March 6, 2024, twenty-two Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrants were executed throughout Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia.

  • 12 in Winnipeg, MB
  • 4 in Hamilton, ON
  • 2 in Burlington, ON
  • 2 in Toronto, ON
  • 2 in Vancouver, BC

During these search warrants, the following items were seized:

  • 1.7 million dollars in Canadian currency
  • approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine (estimated street value of $3 million)
  • 4 handguns (including 2 x 3D printed guns)
  • 1 sub-machine gun with a suppressor
  • loaded magazines and ammunition
  • 75 kilograms of cutting agent
  • a hydraulic cocaine press/moulds
  • 12 vehicles, including (1 Rolls Royce valued at $450,000, 4 Mercedes, 2 BMWs,

1 Lexus)

    • 3 of these vehicles had custom-made concealment compartments
  • 1 Harley Davidson motorcycle
  • approximately $4 million in proceeds of crime (jewellery, vehicles, merchandise)

As a result of Project Soft Landing, numerous individuals were arrested; while some may face charges at a later date, the following individuals were formally charged with offences related to organized crime, drug trafficking, possession of firearms, proceeds of crimes and laundering proceeds of crime.

  • Darcy WARMINGTON (24) of Winnipeg, MB
  • Kevon WARMINGTON, (34), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Paige PRETEAU (27), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Elvis OYEWOLE (33), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Fiona LEWIS (62), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Cornelius HIBBERT (55) of Winnipeg, MB
  • Tovary SHARPE, (34), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Adrian CHESTON, (28), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Kerry-Ann THOMPSON, (32), of Winnipeg, MB
  • Iwona GLOGOWSKI, (31), of Vancouver, BC
  • Valentin KOKENY, (22), of Vancouver, BC
  • Andy LE, (35), of Hamilton, ON
  • Arber IMERI, (27), Burlington, ON
  • Tyrone REID, (37), of Toronto, ON

Thunder Bay’s Context: Understanding the Broader Implications

While Thunder Bay was not directly involved in this operation, the regional implications are significant. Any illicit drugs travelling by road between Toronto and Winnipeg would have to transit through Thunder Bay.

The strategies employed by these criminal networks can inform local law enforcement and community leaders about potential threats and prevention strategies. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of community vigilance and the need for comprehensive support systems to prevent the spread of organized crime into our area.

Conclusion

Project Soft Landing is a stark reminder of the pervasive nature of organized crime and the continuous effort required to safeguard our communities.

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