Toronto police say 599 charges have been laid against 73 people after a months-long probe into a street gang with alleged ties to traditional organized crime.
On Thursday, police executed a series of early-morning search warrants across the GTA, arresting 55 people and seizing substantial amounts of guns and drugs.
It was the culmination of an extensive probe into the Chester Le gang, which Deputy Chief James Ramer called a “coordinated criminal organization” during an update on Friday.
“Investigators were able to substantiate and now allege that the Chester Le gang (was) involved in extensive gun and drug activity,” Ramer said. “Investigators were also able to allege that numerous members of this gang committed brazen armed robberies while having a callous disregard for public safety.”
Ramer said that in two robberies, tow trucks smashed into jewelry stores and firearms were discharged.
Police say nearly $400,000 worth of illegal drugs, including fentanyl and cocaine, were seized on Thursday along with 23 firearms.
Ramer alleged that some of the guns were being carried by tow truck drivers who armed themselves in the midst of an ongoing turf war.
“Some of the guns before you were seized from tow truck operators who had armed themselves and were prepared to shoot other tow truck operators over an ongoing battle over territory,” he said.