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Drug- and gun-trafficking ring in Toronto area busted: York Regional Police

VAUGHAN, Ont. — A unique crowbar allegedly used in a violent home invasion north of Toronto led to the dismantling of a drug- and gun-trafficking ring, police said Friday.

In total, 17 men and women were arrested and face a slew of charges including numerous counts of drug- and firearm-trafficking offences and robbery, York regional police said.

Police said they seized 15 guns along with cocaine, fentanyl, oxycontin and cash.

Det. Jason Boulay said the home invasion on Oct. 17, 2019, in Vaughan, Ont., sparked the probe — dubbed Project Stanley, as a reference to the crowbar manufacturer.

"It was about 2:30 in the morning when four armed suspects force their way into the residence," Boulay said in a video statement. 

"All the adults in the house were tied up — zip-tied — and forced down on the floor where demands were made for money and other personal belongings."

A 26-year-old man was injured in the alleged assault.

In March, the force released a video of the alleged invasion to the public. The footage appears to show armed suspects walk up the stairs of a home and beat a victim.

"The crowbar that was seen in the video of the home invasion was identified as being unique and only sold at one retailer," police said.

Boulay said the Stanley crowbar was sold at a Home Depot.

"Video surveillance was obtained through Home Depot and we were able to identify persons associated to that purchase of the tools that were used in the home invasion," he said.

From late March to mid-May, York police and seven other forces began raiding homes throughout the Toronto area and in Sudbury, Ont., as they executed search warrants.

"This was a complex investigation," said Insp. Ryan Hogan, adding that it involved numerous units within the force that worked around the clock for months.

He said the investigators "in one instance prevented an armed robbery."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2020.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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