Toronto police have laid hundreds of charges in connection with two major investigations that they believe will do some serious damage to gang activity in Toronto.
At a news conference Friday morning, police unveiled details of Project Brazen and Project Quell launched by officers in Scarborough after an increase in the number of shootings involving two rival gangs — the Galloway Boys and the Orton Park gang.
As part of Project Quell, police arrested eight alleged members of the Galloway Boys gang Thursday. They face a total of 44 charges, including participating in a criminal organization, which gang expert Anthony Hutchinson says is hard to prove in court.
Eight other men – also alleged to be part of the gang – are still at large, police said. Combined, those men are wanted in connection with 133 offences.
What’s more, nine other people who are currently in police custody, will be facing a total of 48 charges. They are also believed to be a part of the Galloway Boys and will be formally charged in the next two weeks, police said. The nine already in custody consist of six men and three young offenders.
In total, those 25 Galloway Boys face a total of 225 charges, including participation in a criminal organization, conspiracy, trafficking and other drug-related offences.
Police Staff Insp. Greg McLane said the arrests will not put the gangs out of business, but will do some damage to their operations.
“Whether or not the gang is going to continue to survive within the community, that’s something that we’ll have to wait and see, but I think that it’s going to have a heavy impact on their activity,” he said.
McLane hopes the arrests will provide some comfort to the communities affected by the violence, while also serving as a message to the criminals.
“It’s important to have the members of the community have faith and trust in the police, because we’re working diligently to try to root out the criminals and the drug dealers, and the people who are responsible for violent crime,” he said.
”We take this very seriously. We’ll show our due diligence and we’ll make sure that offenders are prosecuted for their criminal behaviour.”
The eight people still at large are:
• Sedonick Atkins, 21.
• Bismark Barrett, 22
• Devon Brumble, 20
• Micheil Davy, 23
• Ernesto Gayle, 36
• Carl Sangs, 27
• Tyrrell Turner, 21
• Orane West, 30
As part of Project Quell, police also arrested seven members of the rival Orton Park gang.
Those seven face a total of 138 charges, police said. Two of those arrested are under 18 and protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Members of the Galloway Boys and Orton Park gang have reportedly been involved in a violent turf war over drugs in recent years.
Investigators have linked that gang war to several shootings and the mistaken-identity murder of D’Mitre Barnaby in December 2011 – although they have yet to make an arrest in that murder.
McLane also said some of the suspects have ties to the Danzig Street community barbecue murders in July 2012 but would not go into detail.
Meanwhile, as part of Project Brazen – which ran for four months, starting in April, 2012 – nine people were arrested and charged with 54 offences, including attempted murder, as well as various drug and firearms offences. Some of those arrested were also young offenders.
Police did not disclose the specific gang allegiances of those arrested as part of Project Brazen.