While announcing a mammoth seizure of more than $12 million worth of illegal drugs, mostly potentially-deadly synthetic opioids, Peel regional police Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich conveyed empathy for those struggling with addiction, while vowing to punish those who seek to profit off their suffering.
“We will do everything we can to help people that are struggling with addiction,” Milinovich said while announcing several several arrests in Project Warrior on Tuesday. “Our police service and our community recognizes that addiction is a health concern. Nobody chooses to be addicted to drugs like fentanyl.
“To the people who are capitalizing on those vulnerabilities in our community, we want to be very clear — Peel regional police service will invest the resources required in order to make sure that you are held accountable and that you are brought to justice.”
Milinovich said Project Warrior started in 2021, focusing on an organization with strong ties to Mississauga and Brampton that police suspected was dealing large quantities of drugs throughout Peel and the Greater Toronto Area.
Several search warrants were executed, starting in November 2021 when police say they seized over 40 kilograms of a synthetic opioid, as well as methamphetamine, Xanax and fentanyl, from a storage space.
In total, police allege the following drugs were seized during various searches related to the investigation:
- 40 Kilograms of benzimidazole isotonitazene (A synthetic opioid comparable to fentanyl)
- 7 Kilograms of fentanyl
- 16.6 kilograms of MDMA
- 12.9 kilograms methamphetamine
- 3.7 kilograms of cocaine
- 10.7 kilograms of Xanax
- 120 grams of psilocybin
The total value of drugs seized was $12,425,013, police said.
Police say four men are are all facing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. They are; Phi Ho, 35, of Kleinburg, Quang-Thai Ho, 38, of Toronto, Quan-Binh Ho, 37, of Toronto and Iman Pazirandeh, 30, of Toronto.
“The drugs seized through Project Warrior posed a severe risk to the public,” Milinovich added.
“We are going through a major opioid crisis in this province and Peel is no exception to that. In Peel we have had 191 fatal overdoses in 2021. Seventy-eights per cent of all overdose deaths were due to fentanyl.”
“Addiction is a priority for our police service,” he added.
“Our strategy is not confined to Enforcement alone … We are coming out of a global pandemic where isolation was a reality for many. So people are struggling with addiction in isolation without the help they need. So taking $12 million of a synthetic opioid off the street, is a huge win for our community.”