9 arrested in Windsor during massive guns, drugs sweep

A massive police sweep led by Toronto Police along with several other agencies, including Windsor Police, has resulted in nine arrests in Windsor.

More arrests are coming.

More than 150 officers involved in Windsor raids. (CBC News)

A massive investigation led by Toronto police along with several other agencies, including officers in Windsor, has resulted in more than two dozen arrests Thursday.

It began with a series of pre-dawn raids in which police from 17 different police agencies searched a number of addresses in Toronto along with locations in Windsor, Guelph and Waterloo, Ont.

Eleven of the 39 search warrants were carried out in Windsor early Thursday morning.

Nine of the 28 people arrested were in Windsor.

Police say Project Traveller centered on the Toronto-based Dixon City Bloods gang, but fanned out to Windsor and Edmonton.

Officers seized 40 firearms, more than $3 million in narcotics and $572,000 in cash.

John St. Louis, superintendent with the Windsor Police Service, credited his officers for their collaborative effort in a news conference Thursday

"This echoes our commitment to ensuring this community is safe," he said. "The fact that we can work cooperatively and collaboratively with our policing partners to ensure that ... this type of investigation is successfully done and brought before the courts."

St. Louis said more than 150 officers from eight agencies — including the Canada Border Services Agency, Ontario Provincial Police, and police departments in Sarnia, London and Chatham-Kent — took part in today's raids.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair alleges the Dixon City Bloods have been trafficking guns across the Detroit-Windsor border.

"Over the past several months, we have been working closely with border security services and with the Windsor police to disrupt that supply," he said. "To date, we have actually obtained ... 40 firearms from this group, but more importantly, I think we cut off that pipeline."

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Public Safety sent CBC the following comments in reponse to Project Traveller.

"Since 2006, the CBSA and the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team have seized over 65,000 illegal weapons at the border. We have taken action to strengthen our laws and to stop violent crime and illegal firearms. We have also increased our frontline border guards by 26%."

The comments continued by pointing out "...the firearms homicide rate in Canada is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years. There has been a 30% decline in the rate of firearms homicides since 2008."

More arrests related to Project Traveller are anticipated.

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, who St. Louis said was not aware of the investigation until after today's raids, said he can't offer more details because the process "needs to be respected."

Canada Border Services Agency declined to comment Thursday.