“Project Skylark: Ontario police arrest 15 involved in biker gang drug trafficking
In a news release from OPP on August 22, police revealed that fifteen people affiliated with Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) have been arrested and 195 charges have been laid following police investigations as part of Project Skylark.
As part of Project Skylark, police identified, targeted, and successfully cracked down a large drug trafficking network spread out over multiple municipalities throughout Ontario, apparently being operated primarily by the Hells Angels Nomads and other such groups.
During the project’s execution, police seized 12.5 kg of cocaine, 12.2 kg of cannabis, hundreds of fentanyl patches, 2,000 methamphetamine tablets, 11 firearms, 700 rounds of ammunition, $75,000 in CAD currency and $30,000 in jewelry, as well as three motorcycles, a Maserati, a Mercedes and the restraint of a home in Ottawa.
According to police, and to put the value of the above drug haul in perspective, a single warrant execution during Project Skylark led to nearly 10 kgs of cocaine, valued at approximately $1,000,000.00, to be seized.
“The fact is, OMGs are a large contributor to the opioid crisis in our province and their organizations’ rules are enforced by violence,” the OPP state. “The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-led Biker Enforcement Unit (BEU) utilizes intelligence to crackdown on these criminals, and Project Skylark is an excellent example of the effect that intelligence-led policing and enforcement can have on criminal networks.”
The project was part of a joint effort of six different police jurisdictions working in concert, including members of the OPP, Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS), Ottawa Police Service and Hamilton Police Service.
Police say that such joint efforts are absolutely necessary to combat OMG-led drug networks. They stress that, despite common conceptions that biker gangs are really just clubs or hobbyist collectives, which may be the case sometimes, OMGs are very often involved in organized crime across the nation.
“Everyone should be furious that this is happening in Canada in 2019,” said Supt. Bryan MacKillop, Director of the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, in a statement. “They should be furious this is happening in our province, often right under people’s noses and they don’t know that it’s happening.”
The success of Project Skylark was announced at a press conference on August 7.
During the conference, police say that the accused were mainly involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. For these crimes, the accused were charged with multiple offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
Continuing, police say that OMGs, along with other street gangs, are one of the major contributing factors in the opioid crisis which is plaguing the province.
“These individuals would not have formed criminal networks without their association with the Hells Angels Nomads, Red Devils MC or Hooligans MC,” says MacKillop. “The vetting process to become a member of these criminal enterprises is what allows them to form the relationships that enable their criminal activities. These relationships would not exist without their respective Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.”
In addition to drug trafficking related charges, many of the accused have also been alleged to have engaged in Human Trafficking for which they have been subsequently charged.
Police say that it isn’t uncommon for such large drug networks to look at human beings as merely another commodity that is part of their bottom line.
Of the fifteen people arrested and charged as a result of Project Skylark, police say that six were either full patch OMG members or prospects. Of these six, two are full-patch members of the Hells Angels Nomads and three are full-patch members of the Red Devils.
The OPP has stressed the following message regarding the operation of crime-involved OMG gangs across Canada:
The message that law enforcement wants to convey to the public is that we know not all motorcyclists are members of gangs — many people are just motorcycle enthusiasts and in clubs that are law abiding and use motorcycles for recreation and transportation. But there are 12 ‘one per cent’ clubs in Ontario, and we know members of those clubs as well as members of their support clubs participate in criminal activities. In fact, the courts have ruled that both the Hells Angels and Bacchus are criminal organizations. We want the public to know that the BEU has a clear mandate to target organized crime groups and to hold people responsible for committing these crimes and jeopardizing the safety and security of our citizens.
The Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime (CIROC) and participating agencies (including the OPP) say they have been working tirelessly to draw attention to these gangs, in addition to their producing many anti-gang messages on social media. Police hope that raising awareness regarding the negative impact these gangs have may aid in curtailing the opioid crisis in some measurable way.
A triple A hockey player from Burlington, Ontario has posted a video on twitter that went viral after he criticized Jessica Allen for enforcing untrue stereotypes about the game of hockey.
In the video, the hockey player said that he was “truly outraged … the stereotypes that you claimed about us hockey players are not true at all.” He went on to say that his “first idol was a hockey player called Becky Kellar … and she also that all players are white male, which hurt me.”
These comments came after Jessica Allen’s controversial response to Don Cherry’s firing. In a CTV show, Allen stated that she doesn’t “worship at the altar of hockey,” and that the hockey players she knew “all tended to be white boys who weren’t, let’s say, very nice.”
The hockey player went on to say, “we’re more than just a stereotype and you should see us for the people we really are.”
After he posted this video on twitter, the young hockey player received many positive responses, including some from NHL players.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, the hockey player said that he “posted the response because I don’t think it is fair to put that kind of stereotype on all hockey players or on any group of people for that matter. People may look at me and say I am a spoiled white kid but I had to work hard to save money for my first goalie pads.”
He went on to say that “my parents are immigrants and we didn’t have much starting out. But what I do have is a voice and I want to use that voice to stand up for people who need me.”
On Jessica Allen’s apology, he stated that he was “not sure how I feel about it. I was always taught that if I said something or did something that hurt somebody else I should … sincerely apologize to that person. I feel like her apology is more like, I am sorry but… I wish it was that easy.”
He ended by saying, “When you have such a big audience like she does on TV I think it is important to think about what you say.”
Former Thunder Bay City Councillor will be headed back to court on a charge of attempted murder.
The charge stems from a “serious incident” that took place on Vickers Street in Thunder Bay.
Larry Hebert, 72, was remanded into custody Friday morning during a bail court appearance, and is scheduled to appear in court on December 16, according to CBC.
Details surrounding the incident are currently under a publication ban.
Hebert served as a city councilor for Thunder bay for three consecutive terms, having been defeated in the councillor-at-large race last year.
Toronto Police have confirmed that a two-and-a-half-year-old has died after she was struck by a falling air conditioner.
Const. Caroline de Kloet of the Toronto Police said the young girl died in hospital following the strike on Monday outside an east-end apartment building, after the A.C. unit fell eight stories onto her.
De Kloet told media the toddler was with others when she was struck, but information surrounding who they were has yet to be released, or whether or not the family of the girl live within the same area.
De Kloet also said a stroller was at the site of the crime, but it’s not known if the girl was in it.
The spokeswoman said the air conditioner was in a window before it fell.
Neighbours told the Toronto Sun that they were distraught over the horrible incident.
“I was back there twice yesterday doing my recycling,” said one resident named Nicole.
“It could have been me.”
“It could have been anyone,” said another tenant.
“Someone out walking their dog or bringing in groceries.”
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” said De Kloet. “From the interviews that investigators have done, they’ve come to the conclusion that there won’t be any criminal charges.”
Well Toronto, we hope you like snow. Because as many of you have surely noticed by now, you’ve got a lot of it!
The Toronto area was subjected to record-breaking early snowfalls that may leave commuters in a temporary daze, as sidewalks and roads have quickly become snowy in a hurry.
Monday morning saw a winter weather travel advisory from Environment Canada, which has since been lifted, but was nonetheless pounded by snow overnight.
Toronto’s Pearson airport was blanketed by nearly 14 centimetres of snow, over four times the previous record set in 1983.
According to 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor, windchill will “make it feel like -15 C on Tuesday and will dip further to -22 overnight.”