During the week of August 27–31, 2019, the Bay St. George and Channel-Port-aux Basques RCMP Detachments commenced Project Bullfight, an operation targeting individuals involved in drug trafficking on Newfoundland's west coast. The detachments were supported by the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime units from St. John's and Gander and RCMP Police Dog Services.
As a result of the operation, police executed judicially authorized search warrants issued under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Cannabis Act in six communities, including Lourdes, Three Rock Cove, Stephenville Crossing, Flat Bay, Port-aux Basques and Searston. Police seized over $62,000 worth of illicit drugs and substances, including cocaine, prescription pills, cannabis and cannabis resin, as well as over $90,000 cash as proceeds of crime, seven firearms and ammunition, as well as other evidence related to the illicit trafficking of drugs and cannabis.
Seized items include:
- 25 grams (g) cocaine
- 1600 prescription pills, including oxycodone, hydromorphone, codeine, benzodiazepine and others
- 1 g of 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (ecstasy)
- 1597 g of cannabis marihuana
- 414 g of cannabis resin (shatter)
- 256 edible cannabis candies
- 164 g of cannabis oil
- 26 cannabis plants
- Seven firearms (six shotguns, one rifle) and ammunition
- $90,000 cash
Other evidence indicative of drug trafficking
Nineteen separate criminal investigations were completed over a five-day period with 16 individuals facing charges, one of whom also had an outstanding warrant, and an additional two individuals arrested on outstanding warrants. The warrants were related to previous minor criminal charges including theft and breach of court order.
Those charged range in age from 18–59 with the following charges:
- Trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine), s. 5(1) Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
- Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine), s. 5(2) CDSA
- Possession of a controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking (oxycodone, hydromorphone, codeine, benzodiazepine), s. 5(2) CDSA
- Possession of a controlled substance, s. 4(1) CDSA
- Unlawful sale of cannabis, s. 10(1) Cannabis Act
- Possession of cannabis for purpose of sale, s. 10(2) Cannabis Act
- Possession of cannabis resin for the purpose of sale, s. 10(2) Cannabis Act
- Possession of the proceeds of crime, s. 355 Criminal Code
- Careless Storage of a firearm, s. 86 Criminal Code
- Careless Storage of ammunition, s. 86 Criminal Code
- Fail to comply with court order, s. 145 (3) Criminal Code
All individuals arrested have been released and will appear in court at a later date.
Project Bullfight demonstrates the RCMP's ongoing commitment to safeguarding the individuals, families and communities of Newfoundland Labrador. The RCMP will continue to investigate those who choose to profit from illicit activity throughout the province.