Fifteen people face a total of 195 charges in connection with a 14-month drug investigation involving alleged outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Ontario Provincial Police say Project Skylark involved investigating the trafficking of cocaine, meth and fentanyl trafficking throughout the Niagara, Sudbury and Ottawa regions.
Police say the investigation targeted members of the Hells Angels Nomads, Red Devils MC and Hooligans MC.
Among the items seized as a result of the operation were 12.5 kg of cocaine, 12.2 kg of cannabis, fentanyl patches, 11 firearms, $75,000 in cash, 2,000 meth tablets, multiple vehicles including three motorcylcles and one residence.
“The results of this investigation have significantly impacted the Hells Angels Nomads and Red Devils MC drug trafficking network,” said OPP Superintendent Bryan MacKillop.
“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are associated to other forms of organized crime across this country. It’s the network they utilize to be able to peddle their goods that’s so important, and having disabled and disrupted this particular network will have a significant impact on the drug trade in Ontario.”
The investigation involved the provincial force as well as investigators from the Niagara, Sudbury, Ottawa and Hamilton police services.
The 15 arrested are residents of the Niagara Region, Sudbury and Ottawa, police said. At least six were identified by MacKillop as motorcycle gang members.
The charges against them include drug trafficking, possession of unauthorized firearms and ammunition, and possession for the purpose of trafficking, as well as several counts of human trafficking, police said.
“Their very presence in our communities causes harm, victimization and impacts our fundamental sense of safety and security,” MacKillop alleged. “They participate in criminal activities such as fraud, drug trafficking, assault, intimidation and murder and they do this for nothing more than profit.”
With a file from The Canadian Press