OPP's Largest Drug Seizure in History Nets 1,062kg of Pure Cocaine
CTV -- An intercontinental investigation has netted 1,062 kilograms of pure cocaine, marking the single largest drug seizure in the history of the Ontario Provincial Police, authorities announced Monday.
“This is a massive seizure. Bigger than I’ve ever seen in my 33 years of policing,” Commissioner Vince Hawkes said at the press conference.
Hawkes and representatives from Canada Border Services Agency unveiled the results of their ongoing investigation into intercontinental drug trafficking.
The investigation, called Project HOPE, began in March and uncovered various caches of cocaine at the Port of Montreal and in Stoney Creek, Ont.
OPP said the drugs had been coming to the Port of Montreal from Argentina since 2014, encased in cement rocks on vessels in shipping containers, for distribution in Ontario and throughout Canada.
The wholesale value of the seizure is estimated to be worth $60 million while the street value of the cocaine, once cut, is valued at approximately $250 million.
“It’s an amazing seizure,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum said at the press conference.
“This historic seizure stopped that money from entering the crime groups operating within our communities as well as removing all this cocaine from the streets,” he said.
“Illegal drugs cause grievous harm and threaten community safety,” added Hawkes, referencing the ongoing opioid crisis and the dangers of fentanyl. “With the amount of cocaine pure cocaine seized during Project Hope we’ve stopped many criminals from causing more egregious harm to our communities.”
The Canada Border Services Agency and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, among other organizations, also helped with the investigation.
OPP said three men from the Toronto-area are currently facing drug importation and drug trafficking charges.