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6 arrested, guns and drugs seized during organized crime bust

Last Updated Aug 2, 2018 at 5:03 pm EDT

Police display firearms seized during raids across the GTA during a news conference in Toronto on Aug. 2, 2018. CITYNEWS/Daniel Berry

A six-month investigation into organized crime has resulted in six arrests, and the seizure of guns and more than $5 million in illegal drugs destined for GTA streets, Toronto police say.

“Back in February, members of (the Toronto Drug Squad) commenced an investigation into a group of individuals who they had reason to believe were operating a large-scale drug distribution network in Toronto and across the GTA,” Staff Supt. Myron Demkiw said at a news conference on Thursday.

Earlier this summer, as part of Project Switch, officers from several forces executed sweeping raids in Toronto, Holland Landing, Mississauga, Concord and Woodbridge.

They arrested six people and seized millions of dollars’ worth of drugs — including 52 kilograms of cocaine, 7.4 kilograms of heroin and ecstasy — handguns, rifles, crossbows, Canadian cash, and a house worth more than $1.3 million.

Acting Insp. Steve Watts alleged the accused also had so-called “trap cars” — modified vehicles with compartments to hide drugs, guns and cash.

The seized firearms — nine handguns and 16 rifles — belong to one of the accused, he added. The handguns are legally registered and the long guns are non-restricted firearms, which don’t need to be registered.

“We allege that at least one of the firearms was in very close proximity to large quantities of controlled substances (in a vehicle),” he said, calling it a “dangerous combination.”

They said two groups, who were part of the same organization, had been bringing cocaine and heroin to the Toronto area in tractor-trailers across the border from the U.S.

On June 17, police arrested four people, ranging in age from 25 to 35, and charged them with numerous offences, including drug trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Duc Hoang, 34, and Myleene Kavalak, 33 — arrested on July 17 — were charged in connection with careless storage of firearms and ammunition on top of drug charges.

Police are looking for one more man, 34-year-old Joevannie Peart, and are asking anyone with information to call them.

The Asian Organized Crime Task Force along with officers from the RCMP, OPP, York and Peel Regions and the Canada Border Services Agency were involved in the investigation.

With files from The Canadian Press

Watch the Toronto police news conference below.