Ontario Provincial Police has arrested and charged 23 people following a multi-jurisdiction investigation into the trafficking of illegal firearms and drugs in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area.
Project Renner was launched in April 2018 and targeted an organized crime group that had been producing restricted and untraceable firearms by using unregulated parts.
According to the police, the group manufactured the guns for mass distribution to multiple criminal cells in Ontario.
Since April the OPP and several police services including @HamiltonPolice @HaltonPolice @NiagRegPolice have worked to target an organized crime group producing firearms. Police say the group manufactured illegal guns for mass distribution to criminal cells in Ontario @CHCHNews pic.twitter.com/wm4Yp3VQkq
— Nicole Martin (@nmartinCHCH) December 11, 2018
Police say 14 handguns, and six long guns, including a machine gun and assault rifle, were seized during the eight-month long investigation. Four vehicles, a residential property and prohibited weapons including four silencers, grenades, a stun gun and body armour were also seized.
“More than 400 individual police personnel were involved in executing 39 search warrants late last week at locations across the Greater Toronto Area,” said police in a news release.
The two main accused are 47-year-old Bruce McKinnon, of Rockwood, and 29-year-old Jon Rasmussen, of Smithville. Police believe they manufactured and trafficked more than 120 handguns across the province.
Twenty-six-year-old Nathan Holder, of Hamilton, 48-year-old Marc Rizek, of Hamilton, 47-year-old Graham Allen, of Burlington, are among those facing charges.
Police say the accused are being held in custody and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date.