Gangs from Ottawa and Toronto are moving into Thunder Bay, and they're bringing their feuds with them, says J. P. Levesque, the chief of police in the northwestern Ontario city.
The criminal organizations "which tend to be a fairly violent crew," have been following the money and heading north for the past 18 months, said Levesque, after Tuesday's meeting of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.
" You're not welcome here and you will definitely be on our radar - J.P. Levesque, Thunder Bay police chief
"They're here in Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario because it's a very lucrative area for illicit drugs," he said.
"The price is much higher than it is on the streets in Ottawa and Toronto so they're able to make their money quite a bit faster."
"We're starting to see even far more disturbing trends, with things like human trafficking that is starting to rear its ugly head," said Levesque.
But the influx of gangs is not going undetected, he added.
"We are working very, very diligently to try and stay on top of this, and one of the big things is to let these individuals know that 'you're not welcome here and you will definitely be on our radar and we will be paying attention to all your activity,'" said Levesque.
He added that the police intelligence unit in Thunder Bay is working closely with its counterparts in southern Ontario to try and keep track of the people in these organizations.
As well, Thunder Bay police have investigated several violent confrontations between the groups "who don't get along," he said.
The gangs are connected to the alleged abduction of a 17-year-old boy in Thunder Bay last August, said Levesque.