Winnipeg police make multiple arrests linked to organized crime; similar operations in Ontario, BC

Winnipeg police say more than a dozen suspects linked to organized crime were arrested in three waves of search warrants across the city Wednesday morning.

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) says the operation, which began last spring, targeted drugs, guns, and possibly human and sex trafficking.

It also involved “high-risk search warrants” – so called because they were believed to involve firearms – executed in Ontario and Vancouver. Suspects were arrested in those operations, Winnipeg police confirm.

“All the warrants are completed right now,” said WPS Insp. Elton Hall with the organized crime division. “All our targets are under arrest.”

Hall says the Toronto Police Service, Halton Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police and the Vancouver Police Department were all involved.

“These drug networks, organized crime figures operate everywhere, they’re all linked,” he said. “That’s why it was interprovincial.”

The operation in Winnipeg began at 5:20 a.m., Hall says, with a second wave of arrests around 7 a.m. and a third later in the morning.

“No resistance,” Hall said when describing the arrests.

The tactical squad and emergency response vehicle were deployed, and several streets were closed.

The police activity “resulted in a lot of people from the general public calling (911),” Hall said.

“We weren’t quiet about it this morning. Let’s put it that way. So people were concerned and calling police.”

Hall said more police activity was expected throughout the day in Winnipeg involving the organized crime unit. “Although these will be soft targets and low-priority targets moving forward,” he said.

Winnipeg police say high-risk warrants were executed at apartment building in St. James and Sage Creek, and other warrants downtown.

No charges were laid as of late Wednesday morning.

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