A “significant blow” has been dealt to a “dangerous street gang” following an eight-month investigation that led to dozens of arrests across the GTA, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders says.
Dubbed “Project Kraken,” the investigation targeted members of the Chester Le gang, an organization Saunders said had roots in the Victoria Park Ave. and Finch Ave. E. area and whose alleged criminal activities extend throughout the country.
These include illegal firearm offences, robberies and trafficking in illicit narcotics — specifically fentanyl, an opioid “100 times more potent than heroin,” Saunders said at a news conference Thursday.
Officers executed warrants in Toronto and Hamilton, as well as York, Halton, Durham and Peel regions, arresting 37 people Thursday morning. Police said 43 others were arrested earlier in the investigation, for a total of 80 arrests. A quantity of drugs and 23 firearms were also seized.
“Our investigators are confident that this project has effectively disrupted and dealt a significant blow to the hierarchy and the operations of this gang,” Saunders said. “These are not heroes by any stretch of the imagination. These are people that are killing people . . . I’m not going to glorify this gang or any street gang that’s out there because it’s not the right thing to do.”
Ilya Bañares is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @ilyaoverseas