(VAUGHAN, ON) – Several Ontario residents face numerous charges following a multi-jurisdiction investigation into trafficking of illegal firearms and illegal drugs in the Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe areas of Ontario.
Noting a rise in domestically-sourced guns, Project RENNER began in April 2018 as a high-level Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) investigation targeting an organized crime group that had been producing restricted and untraceable firearms by using unregulated parts. This group manufactured these illegal guns for mass distribution to multiple criminal cells in Ontario.
At a news conference today, OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM and representatives from the project’s partner agencies unveiled details of the investigation and evidence seized during the eight-month probe. Project RENNER was conducted by the OPP-led Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) in partnership with the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), Hamilton Police Service (HPS), Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), Peel Regional Police Service (PRPS) and the OPP Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit. Members of the Toronto Police Service, Barrie Police Service, London Police Service, and the RCMP took part in the takedown. The investigation was also supported by The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). More than 400 individual police personnel were involved in executing 39 search warrants late last week at locations across the Greater Toronto Area.
During the course of the investigation, the project team combined to seize:
- 14 handguns
- 6 long guns — including a machine gun and an assault rifle
- Numerous prohibited weapons and devices — including four silencers, grenades, a conducted energy weapon (stun gun) and body armour
- 1.2 kilograms of cocaine
- 30 grams of methamphetamine
- 13 grams of heroin
- 66 fentanyl tablets
- $85,000 in Canadian currency.
Below are some photos of these items:
The above photo is of a cash counter.
The above photo is of the cocaine found.
In addition, four vehicles and a residential property were seized as offence-related property. As part of a parallel investigation, police seized three kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of fentanyl.
OPP have charged 23 people with 156 offences including charges relating to the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drug and Substances Act(CDSA). The two main accused – Bruce McKinnon and Jon Rasmussen — are believed to have manufactured and trafficked in excess of 120 handguns.
Below is the list of the 23 people that have been charged, and the corresponding 156 offences (zoom in on mobile devices to see better):
The accused persons are being held in custody and are expected to appear at Ontario Courts of Justice in the near future. The investigation continues.
The OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) has a mandate to work with its partners to facilitate the disruption and suppression of criminal enterprises, which affects the citizens of Ontario. OCEB provides members and operational support to investigations on a provincial, national, and international level, working in cooperation with law enforcement agencies from around the world.
The Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) is comprised of nine (9) Ontario police agencies, Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and has units deployed across the province. PWEU partners include the OPP, CBSA and the police services of Durham, Hamilton, London, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Windsor, and York.
“Trafficking in illegal firearms and firearms-related violence continue to threaten public safety in communities across Ontario. By taking down a criminal operation of this magnitude, we’ve prevented illegal guns from killing more even people in communities throughout the Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe areas.”- Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, Provincial Commander – OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.