OSHAWA -- A wayward stash of crack cocaine sparked a police investigation that led to the seizure of more than $1 million in street drugs, including a significant amount of an emerging party drug never before seen here.
Project Shrike, launched by Durham police after an incident in Bowmanville last year, has resulted in the arrest of 19 people on 115 drug-related charges, and the seizure of luxury vehicles and other property as proceeds of crime, cops told reporters in Oshawa Tuesday.
Durham police teamed up with officers in several jurisdictions, including Peterborough, Toronto and York Region as they traced a drug distribution network with tentacles in communities throughout the GTA, Inspector Dave Wilson said. In all about 100 officers were involved in the project.
"Criminal drug networks have no correlation to municipal boundaries," Insp. Wilson said.
It was an odd incident in Bowmanville that led police to the drug ring, Durham Chief Mike Ewles said. In May, workers cleaning up a commercial property on Hwy. 2 were contacted by a woman who said a bag of trash they'd hauled away might contain her car keys. A worker sorted through the rubbish and discovered 40 grams of crack cocaine. Cops were alerted.
"(Officers) quickly understood they had something fairly significant underway," the chief said.
Two people -- Andrew Martinborough, 27, and 37-year-old Jennifer Nicholson -- were arrested in connection with the crack in May. An investigation into their activities led to a series of search warrants being executed Feb. 10 throughout the GTA and Peterborough. Seized during those raids were 13 kilograms of marijuana, six kilograms of cocaine, half a kilo of hashish and more than $400,000. Also recovered were four kilograms of mephedrone, a stimulant that is popular in Europe and the UK and is just emerging in Canada.
Chief Ewles described mephedrone as "a new drug for us. We've never seen it before." Durham cops confiscated bags of the drug in powder form.
Police also seized 14 vehicles, including a Range Rover, two BMWs and a Denali SUV on display Tuesday in Oshawa, as proceeds of crime. OPP Inspector Don Perron said police will be seeking forfeiture of the property through the courts.
"Simply put, crime should not pay," he said.
Facing charges as a result of the drug probe are:
- Andrew Martinborough, 27, of Ajax
- Chris Davey, 35, of Pickering
- Colin Martinborough, 32, of no fixed address
- Jermaine Frank, 33, of Brampton
- Christopher Chanderbhan, 24, of Toronto
- Deen Marcial, 29, of Toronto
- Arash Rahimi-Jafari, 34, of Toronto
- Kuong Hua, 42, of Markham
- Ann Hsu, 31, of Markham
- Jason Chanderbhan, 34, of Toronto
- Kelvin Elton Mingo, 31, of Scarborough
- Tasha Adams, 30, of Scarborough
- Robert Pammett Jr., 28, of Peterborough
- Tiffany Frocking, 22, of Peterborough
- Cassandra Knott, 22, of Peterborough
- Marcus Devonish, 34, of Markham
- Jason Young, 29, of Toronto
- Tevon Grant, 29, of Toronto.
Feb 15, 2011 - 03:02 PM