Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 2015
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Nicole O'Reilly
Page: A1


Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky Has Been Under Police Suspension Since 2012

A veteran Hamilton gang and gun officer, suspended for the last three 
years, remains in a Toronto jail after being swept up in a series of 
raids by police targeting gang activity in the Greater Toronto Area.

Officers forced their way into the Hamilton home of 41-year-old Det. 
Const. Craig Ruthowsky at about 5 a.m. Thursday, as similar raids 
were being carried out at 50 locations from St. Catharines to Durham region.

In total, 45 people are f acing 379 charges related to drugs, weapons 
and criminal organizations from Project Pharaoh - an investigation 
that targeted the Monstarz gang.

In a news conference Friday, Toronto police described the violent 
gang, from that city's northwest Rexdale neighbourhood, as being 
connected to 44 incidents of violence since May 2011, including eight 

Toronto police Acting Chief Jim Ramer said the gang "engaged in 
extensive criminal activities that posed real danger to the community."

He cited robberies, murders and an attempted "hit" at a Toronto 
hospital emergency room that sent staff and patients "diving for 
cover " as bullets smashed through windows and doors.

There are no known acts of violence perpetrated by the Monstarz in 
Hamilton. The investigation, which began last September, led police 
to a separate criminal group in Hamilton, and then Ruthowsky, said 
Toronto police Insp. Bryan Bott.

Ruthowsky and the other Hamilton suspects arrested were part of an 
"affiliated criminal organization in Hamilton" not part of the 
Munstarz gang itself, he said. The Hamilton group was not a street 
gang, or traditional organized crime, but Bott declined to 
characterize them any further.

The Hamilton group's charges, which centre on activities between 
January and June of this year, seem primarily focused on cocaine trafficking.

Ruthowsky is charged with breach of trust, conspiracy to traffic 
cocaine, two counts of participating in a criminal organization and 
commission of an indictable offence for a criminal organization.

Bott said the security implications of discovering a "brother 
officer" involved with the violent gang was one of the most difficult 
parts of the investigation.

"We didn't involve Hamilton (police) in a lot of our efforts because 
of it," he said.

No Hamilton police officers were involved in Thursday's raids.

The 17-year veteran Hamilton police officer's family, including his 
wife, who is also a police officer, and children, were at home when 
he was arrested. He made a brief appearance in a Toronto court Friday 
and is scheduled to return for a bail hearing Monday.

Ruthowsky had been suspended from his duties as Hamilton police 
officer since June 2012, after being charged criminally with 
obstruction of justice and breach of trust for allegedly leaking 
confidential information to an informant.

Those criminal charges were stayed in October 2013 to protect the 
identity of an informant.

Yet he remained suspended with pay pending a decision on his Police 
Services Act charges.

"Since that time, that member has had no contact with the public as a 
police officer," Supt. Dan Kinsella said.

Asked if Hamilton police had now opened up their own investigation 
into Ruthowsky's past actions, before Project Pharaoh began, Kinsella 
declined to answer.

Before his suspension, Ruthowsky was a highly effective gang and 
weapon enforcement officer, described by police sources not 
authorized to speak on the record as the best gang cop in Hamilton's 
recent history.

He was responsible for seizing more guns and putting away more 
criminals than anyone else on his team.

He was particularly good, the sources say, at acquiring high-level 
informants who would tip him off about criminal activity. They say 
this continued after his suspension, including getting information 
that he passed off to Hamilton police that contributed to guns being 
seized and arrests in two homicide cases.

Ruthowsky's outstanding disciplinary charges also include allegations 
that he continued to carry out police work while suspended.

It's not clear if the alleged criminals he's now accused of 
associating with were police informants or were met through informants.

Hamilton Police Association president Clint Twolan said he was 
shocked to learn of the charges.

Ruthowsky was "known among his peers to be a dedicated, knowledgeable 
and productive officer," Twolan said, adding that the allegations are 
very serious.

The police association does not condone or support any of the 
behaviour that these allegations allude to, he said, later 
acknowledging the work of Toronto police.

Ruthowsky has retained his own private counsel that is not being paid 
for by the police association.

When Ruthowsky was charged in 2012, another gang unit member, Det. 
Const. Robert Hansen, was also charged with f abricating evidence and 
perjury. He also faces outstanding police act charges.

Both Hansen's criminal and disciplinary proceedings have yet to be dealt with.

Among the dozens of others arrested in the raids were: David Baraski, 
28, and Ryan Hillis, 26, both of Burlington; and Adam Ciborowski, 31, 
Aleksandar Mihajlovic, 28, and Muhammad Moeen, 29, all from Hamilton.
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