Project Greymouth: Kitchener residents among 12 charged in drug trafficking bust
A 10-month undercover operation has resulted in 12 arrests and what police are calling a blow to the flow of illegal drugs from Mexico to Canada.
Along with Waterloo Regional Police and the Canada Border Services Agency, OPP announced the results of Project Greymouth at a Thursday morning news conference in London.
“Individuals who have jeopardized their neighbours and community safety have been arrested and charged for what, we hope, is the last time,” OPP Dep. Insp. Steve Clegg told reporters.
Project Greymouth began, police say, after investigators learned that cocaine and methamphetamine were being imported directly from Mexico to Canada, then being transferred to smaller-scale distributors in Oxford, Norfolk and Middlesex counties, and the Greater Toronto Area.
As the investigation continued, OPP learned that Waterloo Regional Police were working on a similar project of their own, and the two groups began working together to learn more about what they describe as three independent cells using similar methods.
“I wouldn’t want to describe them as terribly intertwined, but certainly there was a connection between our project and the OPP’s project,” Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Dave Bishop said.
The drugs, which police say were of high quality, were allegedly brought over the Canada-U.S. border after being hidden in vehicles crossing at Windsor and Sarnia.
Earlier this month, 13 search warrants were executed in connection with Project Greymouth.
Some of those searches were conducted in Norfolk and Oxford counties, but eight were in Waterloo Region and Guelph – including addresses on King Street West, Chandler Drive and The Country Way in Kitchener, Brandenburg Boulevard in Waterloo and Tovell Drive in Guelph.
In total, police seized 12 kilograms of cocaine, 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, nearly $90,000 in Canadian cash, $38,000 in American cash and a stun gun, as well as four vehicles.
Twelve people face a total of 49 charges in connection with the investigation.
Those charged include two Kitchener residents.
Nelson Vasquez, 33, is charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of property obtained by clime, unauthorized possession of a weapon and other offences.
David Soubanh, 33, is charged with trafficking a controlled substance.
Also charged are Guillermo Harder of Arthur and Son Nguyen of Toronto, and eight Norfolk County residents – one of whom, 42-year-old Peter Knelsen, remains at large.