A cross-border firearms trafficking investigation culminated in 42 arrests, 442 criminal charges and the seizure of 173 guns, Canadian police said Tuesday at a news conference in Toronto.
Operation Moneypenny was a years-long investigation involving Toronto and area police, provincial police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“We are all battling the same challenges: illegal guns coming from the United States,” said York Regional Police Deputy Chief Alvaro Almeida.
Guns coming into Canada from the US have long plagued Canadian police and in the Moneypenny operation, 87 handguns that were supposed to be shipped to Canada were seized in Chicago, said police.
The guns originated in various US states, including Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Texas, according to officials.
The illegal influx is a result of the two countries sharing the “largest undefended border in the world,” said Toronto Police Superintendent Steven Watts. “So, there’s a variety of smuggling techniques that are used.”
Gun smuggling into Canada, which has tougher gun laws than most US states, is a profitable business, with weapons sold in Canada at up to a 500% markup, said Watts.
Also seized were 1.454 rounds of ammunition, three sets of body armor, three tools that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic firearms and 45 handgun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Police also seized 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of $CAN190,000 (US$141,000), as well as $CAN300,000 worth of fentanyl.