Toronto police say they’ve taken down a large portion of a street gang with international ties after an early morning raid that involved about 800 officers.
Chief Mark Saunders says the blitz — code-named Project Patton — resulted in the arrest of 70 people who had ties to the Five Point Generalz.
“These are thugs that collectively use firearms to shoot other people,” Saunders said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s a concern because it’s lasted a period of time.”
Saunders alleges the gang is responsible for numerous shootings in the city, especially in the west end, and is connected to the sale and distribution of illegal drugs.
He said the gang’s criminality extends well beyond Toronto to other parts of Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, but wouldn’t get into details.
Saunders said police seized numerous guns and drugs and will provide a more fulsome picture of the raids on Friday.
The chief bristled when asked for more details about the gang.
“When I start talking about the history of them, that gives them credibility,” he said. “If I start bigging them up, in the terminology, than I’m doing them a favour and I’m not gong to do that.”
There has been a slight increase to 194 shootings in the city this year compared to 160 at this point last year, according to the force’s statistics.
The chief said there’s “no magic pill” when it comes to community safety and reducing the number of shootings, but said police are doing their job.
“I think if we’re going to get this right, and I’ve said this before, there needs to be more holistic solutions,” he said.
The raids were conducted in Toronto, Durham, York and Peel regions, police said.
The Canadian Press