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The little dope bust that grew; Raids seize $ 32 M in drugs
    #6165075 - 10/13/06 11:16 AM (14 years, 7 months ago)


The little dope bust that grew; Raids seize $ 32 M in drugs

TRENTON -- What began with a tip to police about a small marijuana grow operation in rural Ontario quickly turned into a massive province- wide drug bust with 34 arrests and the seizure of a virtual buffet of street drugs worth $32 million.

OPP Det.-Supt. Frank Elbers said the operation, dubbed Project Vertigo, is far from over as he detailed the joint-forces sting.

"This project alone indicates the vastness of the drug trade in the province of Ontario," Elbers said. "We're still in the initial stages of this investigation."

Nine women and seven men were charged Wednesday after police raided 15 addresses inToronto and Markham, and two near Belleville.

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Officers seized more than 16,600 pot plants, 71 kilos of harvested pot, 100,000 Ecstasy pills, 46 kilos of powdered Ecstasy, 1.5 kilos of cocaine, and a small quantity of magic mushrooms and heroin.

"No doubt when you talk about the kinds of drugs we seized and the organization it takes just to move these drugs, this is most definitely an organized criminal group," Elbers said.

"The vast majority of marijuana produced in Canada is destined for the United States. I hate to use this comparison, but I guess in the United States, Canadian marijuana is like a fine wine."


The investigation began six months ago after police received a Crime Stoppers tip about a marijuana grow-op in Madoc, north of Belleville.

Last month police arrested 18 GTA residents allegedly connected to the same ring. The probe has since grown.

On Wednesday officers stormed a Markham home on Dynasty Dr. expecting to find a grow-op but stumbled instead on an Ecstasy lab.

Two adults were arrested in the house. Their two small kids were handed over to the Children's Aid Society.

Police are still seeking two people. Warrants have been issued for Xiao Yong Chen, 39, of Markham and Hui ZhuangWu, 45, of Toronto.

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