Police in Ontario showed off a portion of a $40-million haul of methamphetamines on Thursday, seized from clandestine labs that investigators believe were producing illegal drugs for export.
At a news conference, police said they seized raw methamphetamine and the chemicals used to make the drug in raids of three separate labs in July.
The arrests came in July after a months-long investigation involving multiple police forces, the Canada Border Services Agency and spearheaded by the Ontario Provincial Police Asian Organized Crime Task Force.
One lab, located about 180 kilometres east of Toronto in Campbellford, Ont., was guarded by a bear trap hidden beneath a pile of leaves, according to police. Police say another lab located in nearby Warkworth, Ont., and used to produce raw meth, was one of the largest ever discovered in the province.
Another pill-pressing lab was found north of Toronto in Auroraand chemicals used to make meth were found in a storage locker in Markham, Ont., just north of Toronto.
Within the Greater Toronto Area, police raided seven homes and businesses.
In total, police seized:
- 120 kilograms of pure methamphetamine, enough to make four million pills.
- 110,483 meth pills.
- 14 kilograms of meth powder, ready to be pressed into pills.
- Five vehicles.
- $81,000 in cash.
Five people face multiple charges, including drug trafficking and possession of a controlled substance.
Police said the meth pills were most likely destined for outside the country.
"Canada is known as a methamphetamine exporter to other countries, especially the United States," OPP Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod said Thursday.
The drug labs raided in Ontario were operating inside homes and businesses, unknown to neighbours nearby.
"Clandestine drug labs can be found anywhere, both urban and rural areas are not immune,” said Chief Supt. Mike Armstrong of the OPP’s organized crime enforcement bureau.
Police said the production of one kilogram of methamphetamine can create six kilograms of toxic chemical waste, which is often carelessly dumped in wooded areas and waterways.
The five accused are due to appear in court in Oshawa, Ont., on Monday.
OPP Det. Sgt. Jim Walker said that people involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamines often aren’t individuals with extensive experience with chemicals.
"Very seldom are you dealing with chemists or anybody with a chemistry background," he said.
"These are individuals who have learned the recipe from another individual … or have got off the internet."
With files from CBC's Steven D'Souza