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‘Operation Phoenix’ Puts Dent in Firearms, Drug Trafficking Network

January 13, 2022 12:18 PM | News

Winnipeg Police Logo Crest

WINNIPEG — An investigation into firearms trafficking has resulted in 12 people being arrested across the country.

Dubbed Operation Phoenix, Winnipeg police began to investigate in May 2021 and learned that large amounts of drugs were also being trafficked by the network.

Winnipeg police partnered with their counterparts in Edmonton, the Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP, while additional resources were pulled from the ATF, Canada Border Services and the Correctional Services of Canada, and FINTRAC.

As part of the investigation, 12 people were arrested at various locations in Winnipeg, Edmonton and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Police also learned drugs were being brought into Stony Mountain Penitentiary in Manitoba and Collins Bay Institution in Ontario using drones.

Insp. Elton Hall with Winnipeg police’s organized crime unit said a “very sophisticated drone” was being used.

“It’s a really big drone that can carry a large amount of weight,” Hall said during a news conference Thursday.

Hall showed an image of a drone that was used. The red and black device was carrying a large package high up in the air.

Prison Drone

A drone that was used to import contraband into correctional facilities in Manitoba and Ontario. (WPS HANDOUT)

Investigators executed 16 search warrants: four in Winnipeg, three in Anola, Manitoba, two at Stony Mountain Penitentiary, four in Alberta, and three in the GTA.

Seizures included:

  • Roughly 40 firearms
  • 30 kilograms of methamphetamine ($2.6 million ESV)
  • 6 kilograms of fentanyl ($2.75 million ESV)
  • 15 kilograms of cocaine ($1.6 million ESV)
  • 100 kilograms of marijuana ($500,000 ESV)
  • Smaller amounts of heroin, ecstasy, and psilocybin ($330,000 ESV)
  • 1 kg of cutting agent ($1,200)
  • 11 vehicles, 4 snowmobiles, 3 trailers, Bobcat ($381,000)

Numerous bank accounts were also frozen.

Of the 12 suspects arrested in the first two weeks of December 2021, six have been charged.

All of the accused have been detained in custody.