Massive OPP operation in southwestern Ontario nets firearms, explosives and drugs
MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- Ten people are facing 268 charges after a massive operation that took place in southwestern Ontario carried out by Ontario Provincial Police.
In the early hours of March 9, provincial police descended on several locations including addresses in London, Brantford, Brant County, St. Thomas, Oakland and Barrie.
OPP now say the 11 searches on March 9 were the culmination of 'Project Weaver,' an eight-month investigation into firearms and drug trafficking.
As a result, 31 firearms, 81 grenades, two grenade launchers, three explosive projectiles and 22 other prohibited devices were seized.
In addition, drugs including cocaine, cannabis, hash, psilocybin and MDMA were seized, along with nearly $130,000 in Canadian and US currency and eight vehicles.
Det. Staff-Sgt. Scott Wade added, "Not only was a significant quantity of cocaine seized, but a significant quantity of illegal cannabis was also the subject of seizure. This confirms once again that illegal cannabis is a lucrative commodity and legalization has not removed the involvement of criminal networks in illegal cannabis markets."
Police say four separate criminal networks were identified as part of the investigation:
- Outlaws Motorcycle Club in the London area trafficking cocaine in large quantities
- network trafficking firearms and cannabis in the London area
- network responsible for trafficking firearms and cocaine in the Brantford area
- network trafficking in offensive weapons, explosive devices and cocaine in the Brantford and Hamilton area
Drugs and an Outlaws Motorcycle Club vest seized as part of Project Weaver are seen in this image released by Ontario Provincial Police on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a statement, "Project Weaver has revealed the availability of truly alarming offensive weapons and firearms, which compromise the safety of the citizens of Ontario. It is imperative that law enforcement continue the fight against illegal firearms and those who choose to engage in their trafficking."
Among those facing charges are:
- Ryan Daigneault, 44, London – 12 charges
- Daniel Bell, 33, St. Thomas – 10 charges
- Daniel Boris, 42, Strathroy – one charge
- Cindy Klassen, 35, St. Thomas – three charges
- Stacey Scaman, 40, London – three charges
- Michael Caron, 32, London – 32 charges
- Alicia Lewis-Haynes, 36, Paris – eight charges
- Jayme Hill, 31, Brantford – 23 charges
- Sean Sutherland, 32, Ancaster – 126 charges
- Brandon Spaulding, 31, Brantford – 50 charges
A full list of the charges is available here.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was called in to help with the explosives and offensive weapons, and OPP say they are not Canadian military devices and the source has been identified.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox says it is imperative that various police organizations continue to work together to continue to handle these kinds of complex investigations.
"The criminal networks identified in this investigation have been dismantled, the quantity of firearms, explosives, cocaine and other controlled substances speaks to the need for multi-jurisdictional collaboration between all levels of law enforcement."
An investigation into the source of the firearms continues.