Multi-city drug bust leads to numerous arrests
Guns, drugs, and stolen vehicles were seized in simultaneous, early morning raids in Kitchener, Cambridge, and other southern Ontario cities Jan. 16.
Thirty-one adults and two female minors were arrested. Sixteen vehicles, 31 guns, $80 000 in cash and drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription pills were also confiscated, according to a press release from the Waterloo Regional Police drug branch.
The suspects are from 11 communities, some as far as Kingston and Toronto. At least half of those arrested are from the Tri-City area.
Waterloo Police and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau orchestrated the raid, which was the culmination of a four month investigation, dubbed Project Noex (according to the London Free Press). The arrests were described in the release as “a significant disruption of the illegal drug trade of methamphetamines and heroin.”
The name for Project Noex is derived from No Excuse, a former auto-detailing garage on Victoria Street. According to The Record, No Excuse was raided on Dec. 19, resulting in two arrests and the seizure of two guns, as well as stolen cars, motorcycles, and garage tools.
An employee from a nearby store described the suspicious activity at No Excuse before the raid in December. According to this person, the store was almost always closed, except intermittently at 8 or 9 p.m. Also, supposed customers would visit the garage for only a few minutes before leaving.
No Excuse is one of many establishments in the U-shaped shopping plaza at 1659 Victoria Street. Their sign is still up, but business there, legitimate or otherwise, has ostensibly ceased. The door, which may have been knocked down during last year’s raid, is completely gone; there is nothing there to prevent dirt, snow, or people from getting in. A peek through the door reveals nothing but dust, stains on the floor, a ceiling light, and a single sticker on what used to be No Excuse’s front desk.
Waterloo police and the OPP have claimed a resounding victory in the war on drugs, but there are still unanswered questions regarding the details of the investigation and the significance of No Excuse, a small Kitchener-outskirts garage, in an 11-city drug bust.