Toronto police break up cocaine, heroin distribution ring in Project Switch

Toronto police unveiled a significant haul of drugs and several guns seized as part of an months-long investigation into a cocaine and heroin distribution ring, dubbed Project Switch, on Thursday.

Group targeted by police was distributing drugs imported from U.S.

Toronto police said they seized 'large quantities' of cocaine and heroin that was smuggled into Canada for distribution in Toronto and the GTA. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)

Toronto police today unveiled a significant haul of drugs and several guns seized as part of Project Switch, a months-long investigation into a cocaine and heroin distribution ring.

According to Acting Inspector Steve Watts, with Toronto police's drug unit, a group made up of two distinct factions brought in 'large quantities' of the drugs from the U.S. in tractor trailers.

The organization also used what are known as trap cars, highly customized vehicles often equipped with hidden compartments to store drugs and guns, according to Watts. 

The investigation, which began in Februrary, involved multiple police forces, including the Asian Organized Crime Task Force, which includes officers from the RCMP, CBSA, OPP, and York, Peel and Toronto police services.

Police also seized 25 legally-owned firearms that were allegedly found near drugs during one of 11 raids carried out as part of Project Switch. Watts said he has no evidence that any of the firearms were used to commit any crimes but suggested that police believe they were kept as part of the group's effort to protect its products. 

Watts said six people are in custody, but one other person is still wanted. He described those in custody as mid- to high-level operators in an organized drug distribution ring.

According to Watts, police seized:

  • 52 kg of cocaine
  • 7.4 kg of heroin
  • 3 kg of MDMA
  • 2.5 kg of hash oil
  • Cutting agents for drugs
  • $288,000 in Canadian currency
  • Nine vehicles
  • 25 guns and two crossbows
  • One house

A total of 25 legally owned guns and two crossbows were seized during the investigation, police said. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)