Police bust organized crime ring that stretched from Brandon to Toronto
2 Manitobans and 1 Ontario man arrested in connection with Project Derringer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
With files from The Canadian Press