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HomeCANADAY MEDIA BREAKING NEWS: Project Barbell- Firearms Trafficking Investigation: Toronto Police Say...

Y MEDIA BREAKING NEWS: Project Barbell- Firearms Trafficking Investigation: Toronto Police Say 6 People Arrested, 62 Firearms Seized, 260 Criminal Charges Laid

Police Chief James Ramer was joined by Superintendent Steve Watts of Organized Crime Enforcement to announce the results of Project Barbell, an eight-month long firearm trafficking investigation that has resulted in multiple arrests and guns seized.

In the fall of 2021, members of the TPS Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force launched an extensive investigation into an armed criminal group suspected of firearms trafficking in Toronto. On May 28, 2022, officers conducted Criminal Code Search Warrants for addresses and vehicles associated with the involved parties, resulting in six arrests, 260 criminal charges laid, and evidence seized, including 62 firearms.

In addition to the firearm investigation, one of the individuals arrested has also been identified as a suspect in a reckless shooting incident that occurred in a crowded bar on October 19, 2021, in the Queen Street West and Portland Street area.

“Gun violence continues to be the most significant public safety concern for the people of Toronto. Every one of these guns was destined for our streets; our communities,” said Chief James Ramer. “Toronto Police remain fully committed to working with our partner agencies, and all levels of government, on prevention and addressing root causes for those who are at-risk. But let me be clear, we are equally committed to targeting those who are high-risk; those who choose to carry and to use illegal guns in our neighbourhoods.”

During the investigation, the following occurred:

  • A man (Zaidi) and a woman (Tirmizi) were arrested at an address in the Victoria Park Avenue and Huntingwood Drive area. It is alleged that Zaidi was in possession of two firearms at the time of his arrest.
  • A search warrant was also executed at this address where a quantity of Canadian currency was located, alleged to be proceeds of crime.
  • A man (Simpson) was located and arrested at a restaurant in the Kennedy Road and Ellesmere Road area. It is alleged that Simpson was in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest.
  • A search warrant was executed at an apartment in the Ellesmere Road and Markham Road area where a cache of firearms and ammunition were located. Two people in the unit were also arrested
  • A search warrant was executed at an address in the Kingston Road and St. Clair Avenue East area where several rounds of ammunition were located.
  • A search warrant was executed at a residence in the Beattie Avenue and Albion Road area where firearm magazines and a bulletproof vest were located.
  • Two vehicles were seized. These vehicles were allegedly stolen, and re-vinned. They were fraudulently registered with the Ministry of Transportation under false Vehicle Identification Numbers.

These search warrants led to the seizure of:

  • 62 firearms, including five AR-15 type firearms and three AK type firearms
  • a large quantity of various calibres of ammunition and firearm parts
  • proceeds of crime
  • Overcapacity firearm magazines
  • BMW X6
  • BMW 4 Series

Syed Mohammed Ali Zaidi, 27, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • four counts of Possession for the Purpose of Weapon Trafficking
  • 51 counts of Possession of a Loaded Prohibited or Restricted Firearm
  • Possession of a Prohibited Device or Ammunition Contrary to Prohibition Order
  • eight counts of Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
  • Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition Contrary to Prohibition Order
  • Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5000
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000

Michael Simpson, 29, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • Possession of a Loaded Prohibited or Restricted Firearm
  • three counts of Possession of a Prohibited Device or Ammunition Knowing its Possession in Prohibited
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

Syeda Tirmizi, 27, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • four counts of Possession for the Purpose of Weapon Trafficking
  • 51 counts of Possession of a Loaded Prohibited or Restricted firearm
  • eight counts of Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
  • Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5000
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000

Shaheen Abdul, 62, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • 52 counts of Possession of a loaded Prohibited or Restricted Firearm
  • seven counts of Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized

Syed Mohammed Ali Zaidi, 27, was also charged in a shooting that occurred at a bar on October 19, 2021, in the Queen Street West and Portland Street area.

He has been charged with:

  • Discharge Firearm being Reckless as to the Life or Safety of Another Person
  • Point Firearm
  • Possession of a Restricted  or Prohibited Firearm Without Holding a Licence and Registration Certificate
  • Possession of a Restricted or Prohibited Firearm Knowingly Not Holding a Licence and Registration Certificate
  • Possession of a loaded Regulated Firearm
  • Possession of a Firearm While Prohibited

They will appear in court on Friday, December 9, 2022, at Toronto East Courts in room 407 at 10 a.m.

Police also arrested several parties not named in the investigation while executing the search warrants.

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