Investigators with the York Regional Police Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Peel Regional Police, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, dismantled a large-scale international drug trafficking network that extended to Western Canada, the United States and India.
In May 2020, officers began an investigation, dubbed Project Cheetah, into a robust network involved in importing large quantities of cocaine, ketamine, heroin and opium into Canada. The drugs were then distributed across the country through a sophisticated system run by the traffickers.
On Thursday April 8, 2021, police in Ontario, British Columbia and California executed more than 50 search warrants, resulting in 33 people charged with more than 130 criminal offences.
Officers seized approximately $2.3 million worth of drugs including: Ten kilograms of cocaine, eight kilograms of ketamine, three kilograms of heroin and 2.5 kilograms of opium. Investigators also seized 48 firearms and $730,000 in Canadian currency.
Inspector Ryan Hogan speaks about the investigation.
“The success of this investigation is a testament to the effective cooperation among multiple agencies across jurisdictions as we pursue the shared objective of public safety,” said Inspector Marwan Zogheib, Officer in Charge, RCMP Toronto West Detachment. “The RCMP’s resources across Canada and overseas and our partnership with York Regional Police provide a multiplier effect to our collective efforts to dismantle such criminal networks.”
“Peel Regional Police were pleased to have joined with York Regional Police and the RCMP on Project Cheetah. This drug trafficking network was active throughout the Greater Toronto Area and negatively impacted our communities,” said Superintendent Dermot Coughlan – Intelligence Operations. “By working together with our law enforcement partners, the project was successfully concluded and I want to thank the members from the multiple agencies for helping to make our communities safer.”
Through funding provided by the Ontario Government, the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario supported this joint-forces investigation.
The investigation is ongoing.
Photos courtesy of York Regional Police.