Project Saxom: Ontario’s Largest Firearm Seizure

This morning (22/02/2024), the Ontario Provincial Police had announced that they had been working with Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) in the US. This was a joint task force to tackle gun smuggling between Ontario and New York. OPP worked with the Buffalo branch of the HSI. This operation was named ‘Project Saxom’, while on the south side of the northwestern world, it was named ‘Dual Approach’. Their main focus was primarily concerning guns being imported to Canada.

Project Saxom came to life when authorities wanted to bust and convict a certain group of individuals partaking in arms trafficking located in the Greater Toronto Area region. Authorities were astonished at how fast the weapons sold throughout the city and surrounding areas. It was a niche market, but also a very profitable one.

In Canada, it is reputably more difficult to obtain and be in possession of a gun. To buy a firearm, you need to have a license, which you need to follow a class and have an extensive background check done. Only after, will the government send you a license called a PAL, Possession Acquisition License. If you want to go a step further, you can follow another class that allows you to buy and be in possession of a restricted firearm, which include handguns and rifles with a reduced barrel length.

Our neighbors to the south live a different reality. Depending on the state, there are less restrictions as you go deeper down south. You might be thinking of Texas, although, you might want to look more towards the east, like Florida.

American authorities had followed a suspect in this investigation and watched him obtain firearms in the state of Florida, only to smuggle them to the Canadian border, crossing in the Niagara region. The suspect was arrested due to the fruits of this operation, authorities later found out, this individual was a dual-citizen of Canada and the USA.

The operation would eventually lead to the OPP being granted 17 warrants throughout the regions of the GTA and Niagara on February 13th and 14th. This would lead to 17 people being charged, resulting in a grand total of 279 charges. The total number of firearms seized would be 274, with 106 being seized in Ontario, and 168 seized in the US, which were destined for the great white north. 88 of the 106 firearms seized in Ontario were restricted firearms, either being AR style rifles, AK style rifles or handguns. Some of these guns are suspected to be modified to shoot fully-automatic.

Guns are hard to shoot if you ain’t got any bullets. The diesel to the truck, the food to the being, the heat to the warmth. Hence, the OPP also seized 1,700 rounds of ammunition on the north side of the border. To their surprise, the seizure would yield them a lot more than just firearms and ammunition, but also a fairly big drug seizure. According to police, some of the people charged in this operation, were associated to five different organizations linked to arms and drug trafficking.

Supplementary to the firearms and ammunition, during the 17 search warrants executed, authorities found 118 prohibited arms or accessories (Armes blanches). This included 20 brass knuckles, 22 prohibited knives, and 74 prohibited accessories that would be used on a firearm, such as extended magazines that hold more than the legal limit.

This wasn’t all, as they seized a very impression amount of drugs as well, which included 23 kilograms of methamphetamine, a kilogram of fentanyl along with 688 pills believed to be fentanyl. 1.3 kilograms of cocaine along with 197 grams of heroin. Close to a thousand opioid pills with 280 grams of mushrooms. They also seized 63,332$ in Canadian currency and 4,689$ in American money.

Names of the suspects have not been released to the public yet, with the exception of Eric Robinson, 35, a St. Catherine’s, Ontario resident who was not present when authorities knocked on his door with a search warrant. Robinson is now wanted by police. Another individual was James Malcolm-Evans, a 36 year old man from Thorold, Ontario. Project SAXOM is still ongoing.

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