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Year-long Investigation Results in 42 Arrests, Weapons Disguised as Christmas Gifts Seized

Project Moneypenny, a year-long investigation, has resulted in the arrest of 42 people and the seizure of hundreds of weapons. Some of the weapons were disguised as Christmas gifts in order to smuggle them across the border. It was also found that most of the illicit firearms seized from the investigations came from the United States.

Project Moneypenny included officers from the Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, Durham Regional Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. During a press conference, officials from these organizations shared their roles in the investigation.

They shared that 42 people have been arrested in the year-long investigation and they are now facing more than 400 criminal charges. The police also seized 173 guns, a large quantity of illegal narcotics, cash, and ammunition. Deputy Chief Rob Johnson from Toronto Police Service said, “Through Project Moneypenny, police are holding organized criminals accountable for putting the well-being and safety of our communities, our friends and our families at risk.”

The officials also revealed that some of the guns that were seized in the operation were disguised as Christmas gifts in order to be smuggled across the border.

The first incarnation of Project Moneypenny was launched in March which followed Project Zero from July 2022 which was launched by York Regional Police’s Guns, Gangs and Drug Enforcement Unit. In both investigations, officers successfully purchased quantities of fentanyl and cocaine, as well as 25 illegal guns, from the people they suspected. Most of the firearms came from the US.

Talking about the trade of firearms, Deputy Chief Alvaro Almeida from York Regional Polices said, “The proliferation of illegal guns in our communities is alarming. And we’re well we are all battling the same challenges with guns coming from the United States. We all know the trafficking of guns and drugs across the border remains a significant problem.” He added that the way to fight this menace is for police teams to work together.

The 42 people arrested included three youths and as per investigators, the accused were also selling narcotics, including fentanyl, carfentanil, and cocaine.

Vineet Washington
42 arrestedgunsnarcoticspoliceProject MoneypennysmugglingToronto Policeyear-long investigation