Manitoba·Video

Police bust organized crime ring that stretched from Brandon to Toronto

The takedown of an organized crime ring based in southwestern Manitoba has put a "significant dent" in the drug trade and will hopefully halt the spate of shootings in the Brandon area, police say.

2 Manitobans and 1 Ontario man arrested in connection with Project Derringer

Police on gun violence fears in Brandon

CBC News Manitoba

4 years ago
0:53
The takedown of an organized crime ring based in southwestern Manitoba has put a "significant dent" in the drug trade and will hopefully halt the spate of shootings in the Brandon area, police say. 0:53

The takedown of an organized crime ring based in southwestern Manitoba has put a "significant dent" in the drug trade and will hopefully halt the spate of shootings in the Brandon area, police say.

People living south of Griswold, Man., told CBC News this farm house was raided by police on Oct. 13 in connection with Project Derringer. The investigation and arrests have left some in the area feeling shaken. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)
A seven-month investigation, labelled Project Derringer, led to the arrest of three men — two from Manitoba, aged 29 and 36, and a 29-year-old from Georgetown, Ont. — that police say operated a drug trafficking network in various communities in western Manitoba.

Officers searched three homes, a hotel room, a rural property and vehicles, all in Griswold and Brandon, between Oct. 12-15. A search warrant was also issued in the Toronto area.

Three kilograms of cocaine, 1½ kilograms of marijuana, one kilogram of methamphetamine, several shotguns, a handgun, an assault rifle and a crossbow were seized.

Cocaine, along with other drugs, weapons and cash were put on display by police during a news conference about Project Derringer. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Cash and a number of vehicles were also confiscated during the raids, led by the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force and involved the Brandon Police Service, Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP.

"The time and effort put into this project was for a reason," Deputy Chief Randy Lewis of the Brandon Police Service said at a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Winnipeg. "We knew there was a significant drug dealer in the community, operating in the southwestern part of the province."

"I see [the arrests] as a significant disruption in the drug trade in western Manitoba, not only the city of Brandon but rural Manitoba. It's a positive move in our battle against drugs."

People living in the Griswold area told CBC News they saw police descend upon a farm house south of the community on Oct. 13. Some neighbours said they weren't surprised to see officers there, while others felt shaken up by the investigation and raid.

Nearly six kilograms of drugs were confiscated by police, including 1.5 kilograms of marijuana. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Lewis said the arrests were made during high-risk takedowns in Brandon last week and believes the men are linked to the shootings that rattled the city.

"The past few weeks have been difficult ones for the city of Brandon. The recent gun violence created fear within our community," Lewis said.

Police also seized $25,000 in cash during the Project Derringer raids. (Gary Solilak/CBC)
"This is what happens when organized crime enters a community. It creates an environment where public safety is put at risk."

People in Brandon should feel safe again, he said, adding the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected to be laid against the three men as well as more people in Brandon and other communities across the province.

"Unless you're involved in the gun and drug subculture you have little to worry about," Lewis said.

Police make significant dent in drug trade

CBC News Manitoba

4 years ago
1:23
The takedown of an organized crime ring based in southwestern Manitoba has put a "significant dent" in the drug trade and will hopefully halt the spate of shootings in the Brandon area, police say. 1:23

With files from The Canadian Press

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