The details of a northeastern wide drug bust are being released to the public. The six month long investigation, dubbed Project Coast, included 21 search warrants, 341 charges, and around $2.1 million in drugs seized. The investigation looked at how drugs are being transported up the James Bay coast, where some sell for four times their normal price. For example, a single Fentanyl patch that would sell for around $400 in southern Ontario was going for $1,600 in the north.
Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Alvin Fiddler, says this huge amount of money in drugs has a devastating affect on First Nation communities. He says the money seized by police is their children’s money; their child tax money, their family allowance, and their social service money. He says the impacts that they are seeing on the communities as a result of the misuse and abuse of drugs is devastating. He says it’s destroying lives, families, and the communities.
The Timmins Police played a significant role in the investigation, helping to determine how the drugs were going through Timmins to get to the coast. Inspector Richard Blanchette says they were either coming from Timmins and moving up north, or flowing through the city from bigger centres in southern Ontario. He says anytime there is a demand for the police, TPS is big enough that they are able to help out; and he says they would do anything they can to help the community.
Blanchette calls the drug bust a good news story, but does point out it’s probably only a small portion of what is actually out there. He points out Fentanyl, saying it doesn’t belong on the streets. He says it’s too dangerous, and they have investigated several local deaths that involve the misuse of Fentanyl.
Meth, oxycodone, cocaine, and pot were all seized in addition to the Fentanyl patches. The numbers break down as such:
- 57,792 meth pills
- 7, 229 oxycodone pills
- 705 grams of cocaine
- 476.6 grams of pot
- 154.25 Fentanyl patches
Police also seized over $250,000 in cash, a shotgun, and a bulletproof vest. Twelve Timmins residents are among the 55 being charged in this investigation. Also looking at charges are residents from Sudbury. Moosonee, Moose Factory, Ottawa, Chapleau, Toronto, and Fort Albany.