ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
ORILLIA - Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has successfully restrained eight residential properties connected to a recent successful drug and gun investigation.
Project Silkstone targeted multiple criminal groups involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs and guns along the Highway 401 corridor between the Greater Toronto Area, through the Belleville/Bay of Quinte Region and Montréal, Que. The 18-month investigation also uncovered drug trafficking activities to and from the United States, resulting in 18 people charged with 81 criminal offences in February of 2017.
Members of the OPP-led Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit conducted financial investigations into the accused individuals charged in this investigation. OPP investigators targeted the assets and wealth of the suspects to determine and identify money laundering, proceeds of crime and the instruments of their criminal activity. This complex investigation by the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit resulted in the restraint/seizure of properties in which forfeiture will be sought through the ongoing criminal court process. In October 2017, the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit made application to the Superior Court in Ottawa to restrain/seize the properties. Court authorizations resulted in the restraint/seizure of five residential properties in the Greater Toronto Area, two in Hastings County, and one in Simcoe County, conservatively valued at more than $5 million as the proceeds of crime and property used in the commission of criminal offences.
Many of the accused have made or are making their way through the criminal justice system since the arrests made in February 2017.
"I'm proud of the important efforts made by members of the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit. These specialists worked diligently during the original investigation and long after the spotlight had been turned off. Making use of legislative tools, we ensure crime doesn't pay and property isn't used for criminal means, which keeps our communities safe." - Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, provincial commander OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
The OPP-led Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) is responsible for the coordination of Ontario's Asset Forfeiture Strategy and leads the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU).
PAFU is comprised of 54 officers, 22 municipal police services and the OPP. PAFU's role is conduct money laundering, proceeds of crime and offence related property investigations to identify, seize, restrain and seek forfeiture of assets accumulated through the commission of criminal offences. The Criminal Code of Canada authorizes these actions for "any property, benefit, or advantage derived from the commission of the designated offences" as well as property used in the commission of criminal offences.
Project Silkstone media resources, including digital still photos of some of the evidence seized and a map, can be found here.