Some First Nations police are saying Wednesday's bust of a drug ring police say was centred in Kanesatake sends a strong message to Canada's native territories.

About 36 people face weapons and drug charges in the wake of what police are calling Project Cleopatra.

The ring was being run out of Kanesatake, with drugs produced in the Montreal area, police allege.

Kanesatake is a Mohawk community about 30 kilometres outside of Montreal.

Police were all smiles when they talked about the results of Project Cleopatra at a press conference on Thursday in Montreal.

'Criminals cannot hide in their communities'

The busts send a strong message to criminals who feel they're untouchable inside Canada's First Nations territories, according to Gordon McGregor, chief of the Kitigan Zibi police force in Maniwaki.

"We've just proven that we can touch you, and we're going to be back. That's all we're saying," McGregor said.

McGregor says Project Cleopatra proves Quebec's co-ordination of native and non-native police teams is working. He says the rest of Canada should take notice.

"We're telling our people that we can actually do our job," McGregor said.

Maniwaki is an Algonquin reserve near Maniwaki, Que.

"We're telling our people that criminals cannot hide in their communities anymore, and we're telling our young ones that crime doesn't pay, and we will be knocking on your door if you go that direction."

Hidden weapons

At the RCMP's downtown Montreal headquarters on Thursday morning, police showed off some of the guns and drugs netted in the raids.

RCMP Cpl. Sylvain L'Heureux described what police found in just one of the homes raided Wednesday:

  • Ten identical black 9-mm pistols.
  • Bags of Canadian and American money.
  • Bags of marijuana and cocaine.
  • Bullet-proof vests.
  • Two pump-action shotguns.
  • One full-auto assault rifle.

L'Heureux says the guns were well hidden.

"Most of these weapons were found loaded in a concealed compartment behind a wall that you needed a remote control to open the door," L'Heureux said.