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OPP charge 17 in largest gun seizure in Ontario's history

Police seized 274 illegal firearms with potential street value of $3.25 million as part of investigation with U.S. Homeland Security
These are some of the firearms seized as part of Project Saxom.

Seventeen people are facing charges and 274 illegal firearms have been seized as part of an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) that involved United States Homeland Security.

The seized weapons included 168 in the U.S. and 106 in Ontario, making it the largest seizure of handguns and assault-style rifles in the province’s history, according to an OPP news release.

OPP and Homeland Security began the investigation in early 2023, when two people were trying to traffic firearms in the Greater Toronto Area. That led to the launch of Project Saxom in Ontario and Project Dual Approach in the U.S.

As a part of Project Dual Approach, 168 illegal guns were seized before they could be smuggled into Ontario. One dual Canadian-U.S. citizen was arrested and will be prosecuted in the U.S.

“Project Saxom utilized traditional investigative techniques, including covert operations, to infiltrate a group of individuals seeking to traffic firearms in the Greater Toronto Area,” police said in the news release. “As the investigation progressed, additional suspects belonging to five distinct criminal networks were identified. In addition to trafficking firearms, PWEU also discovered that several of the accused were also trafficking illicit drugs.”

The PWEU executed 17 search warrants in the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara Region on Feb. 13 and 14. The following items were seized:

  • 88 illegal handguns, including restricted and prohibited guns and AK-47-style and AR-15-style prohibited pistols/handguns. This includes two .40-calibre handguns that had been converted to fully automatic firearms.
  • 18 long guns. This includes non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited rifles and one shotgun.
  • 118 prohibited devices. This includes one silencer, one conducted energy weapon, 20 brass knuckles, 22 prohibited knives and 74 prohibited firearm magazines. One of the prohibited firearm magazines is a drum magazine (for a handgun that holds 50 rounds of .40-calibre ammunition) and other over-capacity magazines that have the ability to hold between 11 and 31 rounds of ammunition.
  • Approximately 1,700 rounds of ammunition.
  • Approximately 23 kilograms of methamphetamine.
  • More than one kilogram of high-potency fentanyl, equivalent to 60,000 to 70,000 street-level doses.
  • 688 suspected fentanyl pills.
  • 1.3 kilograms of suspected cocaine.
  • 197 grams of suspected heroin.
  • 877 opioid pills.
  • 280 grams of suspected psilocybin.
  • 432 grams of an unknown substance and 20 unknown prescription pills.
  • $63,332 in Canadian currency.
  • $4,689 in U.S. currency.

The potential street value of the drugs and firearms seized in Ontario is about $3.25 million.

This investigation led to 16 arrests in Ontario. Eric Robinson, 35, of St. Catharines, remains wanted.

The PWEU has laid 279 charges under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Six of the accused are subject to lifetime firearms prohibition bans. One accused was on full parole. One was on statutory release.

Project Saxom is ongoing, and anyone with information about the trafficking of illegal firearms and/or illicit drugs is asked to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

“Illegal firearms pose a serious risk to public safety. They are often used by organized crime groups, including street gangs, to broaden and secure drug trafficking networks. They are also used in violent crimes including robberies, carjacking, intimidation, extortion and homicide,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique. “By working collaboratively with U.S. policing partners, the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit will continue to combat the smuggling and trafficking of illegal firearms within the Province of Ontario.”