Pubdate: Fri, 13 Oct 2006
Source: Port Hope Evening Guide (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Port Hope Evening Guide
Author: Mandy Martin


Baltimore-Area House Part Of $32M Drug Roundup

A Harwood Road property is among 15 locations cited in a $32-million
drug bust Wednesday.

While most of the properties searched October 11, were in the Greater
Toronto Area (GTA), a residence at Harwood Road north of
Baltimore was found to be a marijuana grow operation. A second grow
operation was located near Madoc, a third on Wallbridge Road in Quinte
West, a fourth in Markham, a fifth and sixth in Toronto.

Project Vertigo, begun last spring after the single Madoc grow-op was
identified, led to the investigation of people related to that
operation. As a result, investigators discovered "a widespread
criminal organization," Detective Superintendent Frank Elbers of the
OPP Drug Enforcement Section said yesterday.

"Multiple organized groups were identified as having active
large-scale grow-ops in East Region. Without exception, all identified
parties were found to reside in the GTA and attend Eastern Region for
the express purpose of marijuana production," Det. Supt. Elbers said.

Over 100 police officers from OPP Drug Enforcement Squad, OPP East
Region Emergency Response Team, Belleville Police Service, York
Regional Police and Toronto Police Service, Brockville Police Service
and Gananoque Police Service were involved in the searches at the 15
locations Wednesday.

Police officers arrested and charged 34 people in relation to 22
different locations where the illegal production of various drugs took

Of all the locations searched, a Dynasty Drive, Markham residence was
the most difficult to process because of the volatile chemicals used
to manufacture Ecstasy. There, 46 kilograms of MDMA (Ecstasy) with an
approximate street value of $12-million, and an estimated 100,000
units of MDMA (Ecstasy) with street value of $2 million dollars were
among items seized.

In the entire takedown, 16,689 marijuana plants valued at
$16.6-million, 71.81 kgs of marijuana "bud" valued at $439,000,
approximately 100,000 pills of Ecstasy valued at $2-million; 46
kilograms of powdered Ecstasy valued at approximately $12-million; 1.5
kilograms of cocaine valued at $150,000; a pound of psilocybin valued
at $2,200; 2 kilograms of heroin, valued at $500,000, all for an
approximate total street value of over $32-million.

As well as approximately $150,000 in various currency, eight vehicles,
generators and campers were seized.

"This investigation, along with the parallel proceeds of crime
investigation, is continuing. The original investigation into the
marijuana manufacturing has shown that these grow-ops are directly
related to the cocaine, heroine, metamphetamine and ecstasy trade
problem we know is present and growing in Ontario," Det. Supt. Elbers
said Thursday.

"This project alone indicates the vastness of the drug trade within
the Province of Ontario," Det. Supt. Elbers said. "This initiative was
a success due to the cooperation and partnerships of all the policing
agencies that worked together for a common goal."
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