Two Scarborough gangs were the focus of a major crackdown on gangs and guns by Toronto Police this week.
A series of pre-dawn raids throughout the GTA on April 1 resulted in 125 arrests and the seizure of guns, street drugs, cash and cars. On the morning of the arrests, police dispatched more than a thousand police officers.
The raids were a part of Project Fusion, the newest program launched by Toronto Police in targeting organized crime. The program began back in September, immediately eyeing out two Scarborough gangs.
“Both the MNE and the 400 Crew are involved in trafficking of firearms and drugs. The investigation further determined that both of these criminal organizations had resorted to violence to advance and protect their criminal enterprise,” Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said.
MNE is an acronym for Markham Road and Eglinton Avenue while 400 Crew is a reference to an address on McCowan Road. Although the names represent the concentrated locations of the two groups, police clearly outlined the vastness of their operations beyond those areas.
A majority of the 161 warrants issued were in the Scarborough area, particularly at a four-apartment complex at Markham Road and Eglinton Avenue. Police identified 46 of those arrested to be associated with the gangs.
“Today’s operation has been one of unprecedented scale, exceeding even that of our previous gun and gang investigations,” Blair said.
Police also tracked down those allegedly responsible for the supply of firearms and illegal drugs to these criminal organizations. This required the assistance of other units, particularly Durham Regional Police.
“It is the culmination of a complex and an obviously highly successful organized crime investigation which over many months has identified suspects and collected evidence.”
This evidence not only led police to the street gangs’ violent criminal activity, but also to persons and organizations responsible for supplying the guns and the drugs.
The day after the raid, police made three more arrests around Markham Road and Kingston Road in an unrelated incident, but a community alert identified the arrests as a follow-up to the April 1 raids.
Of those arrested on April 1, 50 people were soon released with no charges laid. As of Friday April 3, when police concluded laying all charges, 80 people remained in custody, 4 of those under 18 – for 755 charges.
A full list of the arrests and total charges are on the Toronto Police website.