A cooperative effort across five communities has resulted in eleven arrests and thousands of street-level drugs confiscated.
The Ontario Provincial Police released details of Project Garfield on Thursday, a collaborative effort with the Barrie Police Service and Toronto Police Service, probing a fentanyl and crack cocaine trafficking operation that got its start in December 2020. At that time, police became aware of a network of individuals from the Greater Toronto Area with ties to GTA-based street gangs said to be responsible for the trafficking of drugs in Simcoe County and into Muskoka.
Police say this network has been linked to fatal and non-fatal overdoses between January 2020 and February 2021 in Simcoe County, including the City of Barrie.
On May 20, police executed nine search warrants across Barrie, Toronto, Oshawa, Markham, and Ajax. Police say they seized 427 grams of fentanyl, 734 grams of cocaine, 53 grams of crack cocaine, a number of hydromorphone and oxycodone pills, over $100,000 in cash, as well as several weapons, vehicles, and cellphones. The OPP claims the amount of fentanyl seized represents over 4,100 street-level doses.
“The blatant disregard for human life that this drug trafficking network represents has no place in our community or in the communities that they attempted to establish themselves within. Project Garfield characterizes a collaborative initiative that was undertaken by a dedicated group of law enforcement professionals and their police services,” said Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood. “Collectively, law enforcement set out to and successfully dismantled a criminal organization that plagued many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, Barrie, County of Simcoe and the District of Muskoka. Today, our communities are safer as a result of the combined efforts of every police officer involved.”
Of the eleven people arrested, six were remanded into custody, while five were released with conditions. All are expected in Barrie court through to June.