In recent weeks, two large drug seizures took place in Ontario. Earlier in March, two searches in Sudbury at two separate residences have resulted in the seizure of drugs suspected to include cannabis, methamphetamine pills, hydromorphone pills, cocaine and psilocybin. In addition, the OPP seized three firearms with ammunition, vehicles, drug paraphernalia, surveillance equipment and cash.
The value of the drugs seized was approximated at $634,000, and the searches have led to two arrests.
In a separate incident, the Guelph police have arrested a 38-year-old Toronto man on charges related to drug trafficking after seizing over $20,000 in drugs. A warrant had been previously issued for his arrest on charges of assault and driving while prohibited. He was spotted by the police, and upon searching his vehicle, the officers discovered drugs including 85 grams of purple fentanyl, 5.6 grams of black tar heroin, 1.5 grams of crack cocaine and 30 grams of cannabis. According to the police, the drugs seized have a total value of $20,408.
The suspect attempted to hide something in his vehicle prior to his arrest, and has been charged with four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and breaching his probation.
According to the Guelph Police, the number of fentanyl seizures has more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019. In addition, the Guelph Police have also expressed concern over the number of firearms seized in these operations.
Currently, drugs and property crime is one of the six priority categories outlined by the Guelph Police, in addition to downtown, road safety, community wellness, Organizational Health and Service Effectiveness and community policing.
Moreover, there has been a significant increase in fentanyl seizures in the city in 2020, rising from 538.1 grams recorded in 2019 to 1126.7 grams last year.
“The opioid crisis impacts every community, certainly ours included. I think it’s been even more emphasized in the last year,” said Guelph Police chief Gord Cobey at a meeting of the Guelph Police Services Board which took place earlier in March.
In addition to an increase of fentanyl seizures in 2020 came a record 24 opioid deaths in Guelph, a 242 per cent increase over the seven recorded in 2019.
Currently, two officers are also active members of the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy as well as the Guelph Police working together with partners in sharing information, monitoring overdoses and advising the public of substance-related risks arising in the community.
“It’s really important working with the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy how we can work together to make sure the community is advised of dangerous substances when those are observed in the community,” said Cobey. In 2020, the department has also seized approximately $513,846 in controlled substances, $100,000 in cash and 28 firearms.
“That is a point of concern,” said deputy chief Daryl Goetz regarding the firearms seizures, “but those types of investigations will be getting our attention a little bit more in terms of priority scales that we target.”