Pubdate: Sat, 04 Dec 2004
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Police Believe Dope Is Being Traded For Guns

Five charged after anonymous tips lead to sting. A man delivered a kilogram
of cocaine this past week to another man.

But the buyer wasn't interested in the high-grade powder, not for
profit anyway. He was an undercover drug officer involved in a sting
operation stemming from tips that started coming into Crime Stoppers
last spring.

The bogus deal that went down Wednesday night led to police executing
search warrants at two residences. On Blackburn St., near Broadview
Ave. and Gerrard St., officers found two loaded, semi-automatic
handguns smuggled from the United States, a marijuana grow operation
with 242 plants, and two kilograms of dried and packaged marijuana.

When they raided another house at Alton Towers Circle in Scarborough,
police recovered a .357 magnum, reported stolen from a residence in
York Region this year, along with 15 grams of crack and 100 grams of
powder cocaine.

Additional search warrants, executed with the help of Halton Region
police, at a storage unit on Twiss Rd. in Milton and a farm property
on Highway 25 in Milton, turned up more pot plants and equipment used
to grow weed.

The haul on display at police headquarters yesterday included a brown
paper bag stuffed with dried marijuana and several bags of green pot
buds. Police pegged the drug cache at just under $1 million.

Staff Inspector Dan Hayes of the Toronto drug squad said the success
of the operation underscores the value of the anonymous phone service
to law enforcement.

He also noted the continuation of the "startling trend" of firearms
turning up in drug busts. Drug squad officers seized 81 firearms last
year, he said, though no other figures were provided for comparison.

"It serves to demonstrate the tremendous dangers that are faced by
police officers, particularly drug squad officers," he said.

He also said the presence of harder drugs with indoor grow-ops
bolsters law enforcement's contention that dope is being traded for
firearms and to generate cash flow, enabling dealers to traffic in
drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
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