Oct 09, 2015 News
-22 firearms, US$12M in cocaine, vehicles seized
A year-long international investigation into drugs trafficking and gun-running has resulted in the arrest of several persons in Canada. An arrest warrant was also issued for a popular Guyanese entertainer.
On the run is Dwidth Ferguson, 32, said to be a director of Hits and Jams Entertainment. That company is closely associated with Hits and Jams Television and 94.1 Boom FM radio station.
Canadian authorities said that he is suspected and wanted for importation of cocaine and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
During the course of the investigation, the project team worked closely with investigators from three other drug importation projects, who combined to seize a total of 123 kilograms of cocaine, worth a potential street value of US$12.2-million. Project MONTO investigators seized 22 firearms and $146,000 in Canadian currency. In addition, four vehicles were seized as offence-related property.
Ontario Provincial Province (OPP), Chief Superintendent Rick Barnum, during a press conference yesterday, unveiled details of the investigation and samples of the evidence seized during the year-long probe.
It was disclosed that 13 persons from Toronto, including Ferguson, were charged. Several of them have since appeared in Canadian courts on various charges.
They are David Blevins, 36, of Oakville; Jermaine Wilson, 38, of Mississauga; Sandra Lewis, 48, of Milton; Dainnia Cameron, 40, of Milton; Kenton Lnafhorne, 42, of Vaughan; Rionne Martelly, 38, of Milton; Donovan Brown, 44, of Oakville; Dexter Griffith, 43, of Toronto; Natasha Ruddock, 24, of Toronto; Rocco Petrucci, 49, of Toronto; Michael Robinson, 44, of Toronto and Fitz Prince, 63, of Toronto.
Investigators say that the arrested persons imported the illegal drugs and guns into Canada from Central and South America and the United States.
The investigation, dubbed “Project MONTO”, began in 2014 as an international Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) investigation into illegal drugs importation into Canada from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Guyana and prohibited weapons from Florida.
Illegal and prescription drugs were then distributed from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Cash would go from Newfoundland and Labrador back to the Greater Toronto Area. Drugs were also distributed locally in the GTA upon arrival. Cash would be transferred to the source countries to purchase the drugs being imported. The illegal drugs being acquired and distributed consisted primarily of wholesale quantities of cocaine.
At the news conference, Superintendent Barnum disclosed that Project MONTO was conducted by OCEB Drug Enforcement Unit in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Members of the OPP Emergency Response Team, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and the Toronto Police Service Emergency Task Force (ETF) assisted with executing the search warrants.
Several search warrants were executed earlier this week at locations in southern Ontario, including the City of Toronto.
OPP said that the 13 persons were charged with 48 offences including charges relating to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Anytime that we dismantle a criminal operation, we send a very clear message to criminals that police – regardless of jurisdiction – will continue to identify and aggressively pursue those individuals who continue to threaten the safety of our communities. Project MONTO again demonstrates how effective law enforcement is at working together to target criminality,” Barnum said yesterday.
Guyana is a known trans-shipment point to the US and Europe for especially cocaine.
There have been an increasing number of busts in recent months with the establishment of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Guyana.
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