Massive gun bust leads to arrests in Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and more GTA cities

By

Published April 11, 2023 at 12:44 pm

A total of 42 arrests were made and 422 charges laid in a major firearms trafficking investigation that crossed the border and spanned multiple GTA cities, including the Durham cities of Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby.

Headed by the Toronto Police Service, the cross-border investigation (dubbed “Project Moneypenny”) saw illegal drugs, cash, and 173 firearms seized in Canada and the United States.

Toronto police say numerous people in Toronto and the GTA were caught selling illegal firearms, with some being sold to undercover officers.

Seized guns wrapped in holiday paper

Several seized guns in suitcases

Seized body armour vest

The majority of the firearms were smuggled into Canada from the US, namely from Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas.

“Eighty-seven handguns were seized in Chicago, Illinois, in a vehicle driven by a resident from Arizona, which were destined for Canada,” said police.

“These individuals were also selling narcotics, including fentanyl, carfentanil, and cocaine.”

Police say they seized:

  • 86 firearms (75 handguns/11 long guns) in the GTA
  • 87 firearms (all handguns) in Illinois, United States
  • 45 over capacity magazines
  • 1,454 rounds of ammunition
  • 3 auto switches
  • 3 sets of body armour
  • approximately 1.5 kilos of fentanyl/carfentanil, with a street value of approximately $300,000
  • approximately 1.8 kilos of cocaine, with a street value of approximately $190,000
  • approximately $184,000 in proceeds of crime

Seized fentanyl

Seized fentanyl

Proceeds of crime

Between November 2022 and March 2023, 42 people were arrested and 49 search warrants executed in Toronto, Peel Region, and Durham Region.

Nine people were arrested from Durham:

  • Anthony Colley, 19, of Whitby
  • Haseeb Hamidi, 23, of Pickering
  • Qais Homayonoor, 28, of Whitby
  • Qasim Homayonoor, 27, of Whitby
  • Shaquille Mitchell, 27, of Ajax
  • Jamar Morin, 23, of Pickering
  • Javon Morin, 21, of Pickering
  • Jerell Morin, 18, of Pickering
  • Hamza Tariq, 27, of Ajax

The remaining arrests included residents from Toronto, Barrie, Markham, East Gwillimbury, Winnipeg, and multiple suspects with no fixed address.

Police say all arrested parties have appeared in court and will be remanded to the New Toronto Court House on Friday, April 14.

The investigation was led by Toronto police and assisted by Durham Regional Police, York Regional Police, OPP, the Canada Border Services Agency, and the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Project Moneypenny is just another example of incredible joint forces work that has resulted in a significant positive outcome in removing illegal guns and drugs off our streets and bringing those involved to justice,” said Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim, Durham Regional Police Service.

Deputy Chief Rob Johnson of the Toronto Police Service thanked law enforcement partners, as well as Toronto police’s Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force, the Toronto Drug Squad, and Intelligence Services, for their “ongoing commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

Project Moneypenny was initiated in March 2022 by the Toronto police’s Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force Firearms Enforcement Unit, with assistance from the Toronto Drug Squad and Intelligence Services. In July 2022, the York police’s Guns, Gangs and Drug Enforcement Unit started their own investigation dubbed “Project Zorro.”

The two investigations were combined in September 2022 with a focus on dismantling the smuggling network and identifying and prosecuting those responsible.

Photos via Toronto Police Service

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising