Toronto Police announce major gun bust with 260 criminal charges
The Toronto Police Service announced today that they've taken 62 guns off the city's streets and arrested six people as part of a firearms trafficking investigation, called "Project Barbell."
Police Chief James Ramer, along with Superintendent Steve Watts of Organized Crime Enforcement announced the eight-month long investigation's results today, which involved hundreds of criminal charges.
In fall 2021, members of the TPS Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force launched an extensive investigation into an armed criminal group suspected of firearms trafficking in Toronto.
On May 28 of this year, officers conducted search warrants for the addresses and vehicles associated with the involved parties, resulting in multiple arrests, 260 criminal charges laid, and 62 firearms seized.
Out of the 62 firearms, five AR-15 type firearms and three AK type firearms were seized. Several rounds of ammunition, magazines, bulletproof vests, and allegedly stolen vehicles were also confiscated.
Syed Mohammed Ali Zaidi, 27, Michael Simpson, 29, Seda Tirmizi, 27, Shaheen Abdul, 62, and two unnamed individuals were charged with the offences, which totaled 260 criminal charges.
One of the individuals, Zaidi, has also been arrested as a suspect in a shooting incident that occurred inside a crowded bar on Oct. 19, 2021, near Queen Street West and Portland Street.
"Gun violence continues to be the most significant public safety concern for the people of Toronto," Chief James Ramer said. "Every one of these guns was destined for our streets."
During the press conference, Superintendent Watts revealed that most of the guns seized were handguns, which typically sell for $4,500 to $6,000 on Toronto streets.
The arrested parties are due to appear in court on Dec. 9.
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