$45M worth of drugs seized by police in Toronto-area organized crime bust

York Regional Police Supt. Michael Slack speaks in front of some of the drugs and handguns seized in two major drug investigations in the GTA.

Police forces in Ontario have charged at least 50 people and seized $45 million worth of illegal drugs in two major organized crime busts, York Regional Police said.

The two investigations, Project Moon and Project Zen, had been targeting drug production and trafficking rings.

York Regional Police worked with the Canada Border Services Agency on Project Zen to investigate an organized crime group in a Vaughan home after a man found to have three kilograms of cocaine on him was arrested last year.

Police found handguns, cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine pills and five kilograms of fentanyl in the house, the largest amount ever seized at one time in York Region.

"This group had access to weapons and they posed a significant threat to our community," Det-Sgt. Doug Bedford said during Thursday's news conference.

Project Moon involved the Toronto Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police, focusing on a synthetic drug network with ties to Asian organized crime and street gangs.

In multiple searches across, including Markham, Lindsay and Pefferlaw, police seized cannabis plants, 560 kilograms of dried cannabis, 23 kilograms of methamphetamine, 15,300 MDMA pills, four kilograms of magic mushrooms, 400 Viagra pills and firearms.

“The criminals associated with this project expertly abused the Health Canada medical licensing system,” York Regional Police said.

“Each day, hundreds of pounds of cannabis was being supplied to the illicit market...it was financing synthetic drug trade here in York region.”