Toronto police arrest dozens in organized crime blitz
Published Thursday, June 21, 2018 8:46AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 21, 2018 12:51PM EDT
Toronto police said 70 individuals have been arrested and a “dangerous street gang” was disrupted as a result of more than 50 search warrants executed on Thursday morning.
The blitz, code-named Project Patton, included more than 800 officers from Toronto and neighbouring police forces.
Chief Mark Saunders said officers “dealt a significant blow to the hierarchy and operation of the Five Point Generalz,” and seized a significant amount of firearms and narcotics.
Saunders said the Five Point Generalz gang has been “operating as a highly co-ordinated criminal organization” in Toronto, and has ties to the U.S. and the Caribbean.
“These are thugs that collectively use firearms to shoot other people,” he told reporters on Thursday. “The gang is connected to a multitude of shootings.”
One of those shootings left 11-year-old Ephraim Brown dead at a birthday party in the backyard of a townhouse near Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue West on July 22, 2007. In 2010, a jury acquitted Gregory Sappleton and Akiel Eubank, both 24 at the time, on charges of second-degree murder. Eubank's defence lawyers conceded he was a member of the Five Point Generalz.
Saunders said the Five Point Generalz are based near Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West, in Toronto’s west end. Police said the pre-dawn raids spanned Toronto, Durham, York and Peel regions.
Saunders said those who were arrested in blitz will appear in court on Thursday, and the investigation will continue throughout the day.
Police are expected to provide more details at a media conference at police headquarters on Friday at 10:30 a.m.
Saunders said Toronto has seen five more gun incidents per month so far in 2018, compared to last year. An increase he characterized as not tremendous, “but still moving in the wrong direction.”