Suspect facing more than 60 charges following one of biggest gun seizures in Peel history
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019 11:33AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:15PM EDT
A 35-year-old Brampton man is facing more than 60 charges in connection with what police are calling one “one of the single biggest firearms seizures” in Peel Region history.
Peel Regional Police began an investigation into the suspect in January after receiving information about an illicit drug trafficking operation.
On March 21, the suspect was taken into custody on drug-related charges.
Police then executed search warrants at two addresses in Brampton and two addresses in Toronto that were connected to the suspect.
Police say that 26 firearms, the majority of them loaded, were found during the execution of those search warrants, along with 1,500 rounds of ammunition and a bullet proof vest. A large quantity of drugs with a street value of $1.2 million was also seized, including 3.5 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine, one kilogram of heroin and one kilogram of fentanyl.
Act. Det. Sgt. Chad Lines told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday morning that most of the contraband was found in “custom made and intricately designed” hidden compartments in vehicles and furniture.
One such compartment was hidden behind a speaker system in the trunk of a vehicle that could be accessed using hydraulics, Lyons said.
“One of our main concerns is the amount of firearms and the concealment methods located within the vehicles. When stopped by police during a traffic stop individuals would have quick and easy access to their firearms,” he said. “Although we never treat any traffic stop as routine, criminals using concealment methods like these and carrying firearms may believe they are going to be arrested for a crime they have committed, posing a greater risk for police.”
‘We are far from done,’ police say
Lines described the public safety impact of taking 26 firearms off the streets as “astronomical.”
He said that now that the suspect is in custody police can also begin an exhaustive investigation into the source of each firearm and whether or not the suspect may have been working in coordination with others in importing the weapons.
“We are far from done our investigation,” he said. “With this number of firearms the follow up investigation is enormous and we are just beginning that phase. There is nothing that we have right now that would say that he is part of any organization. We can just hypothesize that based on the number of firearms and amount of illicit drugs that there would be more than just him involved.”
Mayors of Mississauga and Brampton offer thanks
Numerous representatives from Peel Regional Police were on hand at Tuesday’s press conference, including Chief Chris McCord who congratulated officers for “making a dent in the firearm’s and drug trade in Peel Region” through “great investigative work.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown were also present.
“Obviously last summer a lot of people were alarmed by the level of gang and gun activity in our community. This is a major breakthrough for public safety,” Brown said.
“As a community we need to stop gun violence and stop handguns from coming into our city and today is an example of how diligent our police officers have been and how they have worked to get guns and drugs off our streets,” Crombie added.
Salem Talke, 35, of Brampton, remains in police custody. A full list of charges that he is facing has not yet been provided.