TORONTO — Six people are facing a total of 260 criminal charges after a months-long firearms trafficking investigation in Toronto, police said Monday.
The force said it started investigating a group suspected of firearms trafficking in the fall of 2021 and officers carried out search warrants for addresses and vehicles associated with the suspects in May.
Interim Toronto police Chief James Ramer said the investigation resulted in six arrests, 260 criminal charges and evidence seized that included 62 firearms.
Ramer said gun violence continues to be the most significant public safety concern for the people of Toronto.
"Our youth are dying over this issue," he said during a news conference on Monday. "Shootings devastate families and erode the sense of security for entire communities."
The force said it was able to trace 57 of the 62 seized firearms to the United States, and only one firearm originated in Ontario as it was stolen during a break-and-enter last year.
"This is not a good news story," Ramer said. "We should all be disturbed by gun seizure of this magnitude."
Police identified a 27-year-old man and a 29-year-old man, both from Toronto, as suspects in an alleged firearms trafficking operation, Supt. Steve Watts said.
Search warrants were executed on May 28 on addresses and vehicles associated with the two suspects and they were arrested along with a girlfriend of one of the men in the city's east end.
"Further arrested parties were arrested subsequent to the search warrants," Watts said.
"There was a criminal code search warrant that was executed at a building in the area of Ellesmere and Markham Road where investigators located the majority of these firearms. Other individuals within the unit were arrested as well."
Watts said investigators located three AK-type rifles, one of which was loaded with 61 rounds of ammunition, five AR-15 type carbine style rifles, 51 semi-automatic handguns, 31 firearm magazines, and a total of 132 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022.
Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press