It was under the cover of darkness, where the bad guys usually operate.
But this time, the edge of night was an advantage for heavily armed undercover Toronto Police officers.
They swooped down on a Vanauley Walk complex in the Dundas and Spadina area late Wednesday, arresting five suspects believed to be high ranking members of a local gang.
They’ve been accused of everything from breaking into homes to trafficking in cocaine.
Police have already taken down similar groups, most notably the Malvern and Jamestown Crews. That crackdown followed 2005’s Year of the Gun, culminating in the shooting of 15-year-old Jane Creba.
Cops have known about the Project Originals gang for a while, too, but a shooting on Yonge St. last November raised the pressure to stop them in their tracks.
On Wednesday, came the payoff.
Authorities wound up seizing three and-a-half ounces of crack cocaine, about the size of a hockey puck. The estimated street value of the haul: $30,000.
“We got three and-a-half ounces of crack cocaine and about half a pound of powdered cocaine,” outlines Det. Sgt. John Loughlin. “That tells us these guys aren’t just your common street level-type dealers, not by far.”
In all, nine people were collared, and 39 charges were laid.
Neighbours have mixed emotions about the arrests. “I’m a senior citizen and I’ve worked all my life and it’s very scary,” admits one man, too worried to give his name.
He agrees the gang was causing havoc, but adds it may not help much. For every member that’s taken off the streets, there’s another young kid in the neighbourhood waiting to take his place.
“I really fault the politicians,” the senior says. “Because the politicians are the ones who have the money. They can clean all this stuff up if they put programs out there.”
Residents claim the gang is in its third generation in the area and most of the people arrested were already out on bail on previous charges.
And with the possibility that could happen again, no one wants to come forward and say too much over fear of retribution.
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