An international investigation into weapon smuggling into Windsor from Detroit has led to the arrest of eight suspects, with two still at large.
Project Kirby, which began March 2015, involved six law enforcement agencies from both sides of the border.
In all, 111 charges have been laid. The 10 accused include six from Windsor, one from Lakeshore, one from London, one from Detroit and one without a fixed address who frequents Windsor and the Greater Toronto Area.
Det. Insp. James Smyth, project manager of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, said the investigation targeted people who organize the distribution of weapons after they cross the border, rather than those who actually carry the items into Canada.
“This project was focused on drilling down and finding those people that are making it happen and bringing them out of the shadows … and creating situations where they would have to deal with us directly,” said Smyth during a Thursday news conference.
Smyth said these are the people who supply weapons to organized crime groups in the province.
The investigation led to the seizure of eight weapons, most of which were obtained through controlled buys between an undercover police officer and a person making a sale, said Smyth.
The weapons include a Tech-9 machine gun and what is referred to as a “Judge” -- a handgun capable of shooting shotgun shells. The other weapons are various handguns.
Supt. Edward Hickey, head of the investigations support network for the Windsor Police Service, said eight guns may sound like a low number, but any weapon taken off the street is significant in protecting the community.
Police also seized two kilograms of cocaine, trafficking packaging and paraphernalia, $67,000 in Canadian currency, $10,500 in American currency and three vehicles as offence-related property while executing the search and arrest warrants, said Smyth.
“We conducted several scenarios over the past few months,” said Hickey. “Every one of those scenarios was extremely high risk because of the individuals we were dealing with and the fact that they had access to firearms.”
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matthew Stentz of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations said the investigation was significant from the American side of the border.
“Investigations are ongoing in the United States to identify not just the source of the weapons, but the larger trafficking network that’s there, that’s moving the weapons that’s involved in narcotics trafficking and related financial crimes,” said Stentz.
Other agencies involved with the case include the London Police Service, Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Philip Kwaku Nkrumah, the 31-year-old suspect without a fixed address, and Caron Williams, 23, of Detroit are still wanted on charges related to the investigation.