Police say that the illegal dumping of a large quantity of hazardous materials in East Gwillimbury lead to the biggest bust of a methamphetamine production operation in York Region history last week.

York Regional Police say that members of its Organized Crime Bureau - Guns, Gangs and Drug Enforcement Unit began a months-long investigation into the operation in November after more than 100 garbage bags and plastic canisters containing hazardous byproducts from synthetic drug production were found dumped on a driveway in East Gwillimbury.

Police say that a similar dump was also reported to police on Dec. 2 at another property in East Gwillimbury.

In a video statement posted to YouTube on Friday, Det. Sgt. Doug Bedford said that police were able to identify suspects “fairly quickly” but needed time to build out their case.

On March 14, officers began executing six search warrants at locations across the Greater Toronto Area in connection with the investigation.

Police say that during the execution of those search warrants one dormant drug lab was located on Kennedy Road north of Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury and one active lab was located on 10th Sideroad in Innisfil.

“We would categorize both of these production locations as super labs. They are able to produce multi kilo levels of synthetic drugs and have been,” Bedford said. “It is way beyond the for personal use type of labs. This is a production facility, it is drug factory.”

Police say that more than $5 million worth of drugs were seized during the execution of the search warrants, along with five vehicles and a quantity of Canadian and U.S. currency.

Eight suspects were also taken into custody, though it is unclear what charges they are facing.

A ninth suspect, identified as 34-year-old Van Truong Do, is currently wanted.

Police say that clandestine labs such as the ones targeted in this investigation pose a significant safety risk and need to be eradicated.

“There is an extremely high risk of explosion and fire as well as all the toxicity and dangers associated with the chemicals being used,” Bedford said. “They are carcinogens, they are corrosive, they are toxic, they are poisonous and sometimes in the production of certain synthetic drugs the byproducts or gases created by the actual synthesis can be lethal or deadly to people if they were to touch or inhale that.”