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2018 Annual Report: Drug Dealers Sent Packing

Posted on Tuesday July 23, 2019
#1 District Investigation
Investigators worked tirelessly to get drugs off the streets in Newmarket

Project Cutter targets street-level drug trafficking in #1 District

The cocaine was pure. A little too pure.

“This was definitely strange for street-level drug deals in Newmarket,” said Staff Sergeant Dave Ecklund, who led a property crime team in the #1 District Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB).

Investigators also noticed that local drug dealers were becoming increasingly brazen, making daylight drug deals in coffee shops, parking lots and on busy street corners. With the assistance of the community through Crime Stoppers tips, members of CIB teamed up with the Organized Crime Bureau to target street-level drug trafficking, launching Project Cutter in November 2017.

“This project was pretty unique. Normally, investigations go after the big players and organized groups,” said Ecklund. “But with Cutter, we were focusing on the low-level dealers. These are the criminals people in the community see every day.”

Over the next four months, the team utilized undercover operators to walk the streets, visit local bars and complaint areas to identify dealers and gather evidence. The team even expanded the operation into Georgina, with the assistance of #3 District CIB.

“We found that a lot of the dealers were selling drugs to fund their own addictions,” said Ecklund. “In many cases, arresting these individuals helped set them on a path toward recovery by connecting them to addiction services.”

During the course of the project, investigators executed 16 search warrants, made 32 arrests and laid 98 charges, including drug and firearm offences.

In total, Project Cutter took $100,000 in illegal drugs off the street.

“The impact this project had on the community was huge,” said Ecklund.

“When we heard a local drug dealer complain that it was hard to get dope in Newmarket, it was clear we had made a difference.”