A man arrested in a major drug bust in Thunder Bay roughly 18 months ago has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for drug trafficking.

In a Thunder Bay court on Wednesday, Justice Diane Baig said 27-year-old Francesco Muzzi — who has lived and worked in Thunder Bay most of his life — caused untold hardship for many families by selling drugs. She said he made money on other people's pain and suffering, and she hoped his time in jail would help him turn his life around.

Francesco Muzzi

  • 27
  • Born in Italy
  • Came to Thunder Bay as an infant
  • Attended Hillcrest High School
  • Worked in Thunder Bay restaurants as a bartender and cook

In a joint submission, the crown and defence asked that Muzzi be sentenced to nine years in jail. Muzzi pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine, oxycodone, being part of a criminal organization, conspiring to commit an indictable offence and assault.

With pre-sentence custody taken into account, Muzzi will spend less than seven years behind bars. He has been in custody since June of 2011.

Muzzi will also be required to pay $22,000 in restitution to police and will forfeit dozens of items, including scales, cartons, packing supplies, bags for money, and so on.

The assault charge comes from Sept. 16 of this year, when Muzzi punched a man who slammed down a phone at the Thunder Bay District Jail. Muzzi told him never to do that again — and that is when the assault took place.

Thousands of painkillers

Muzzi’s encounters with undercover officers began in February of 2010, when police started Project Dolphin, a mission aimed at bringing down drug dealers in the city.

Through this sting, police purchased drugs from Muzzi numerous times. In total, police bought close to $200,000 worth of drugs from Muzzi: 3,400-80 mg oxycodone tablets, and 112 grams of cocaine.

Officers made a variety of busts at several homes, in June of 2011, when Muzzi was arrested.

The court was told Muzzi and his two accomplices met the minimum number of people required to be called a criminal organization.

Within this group, Muzzi did all the thinking. One person did the hand-to-hand transactions of drugs for cash, while the other was the shipper/receiver and packager of the drugs.

Muzzi's associates told police they were selling more than 2,000 pills a month in Thunder Bay.