More than 80 alleged low-level drug dealers are facing over 320 charges after the Ottawa Police Street Crime Unit wrapped up a five-month investigation designed to choke off the supply of illegal narcotics in the ByWard Market area.
Officers started rounding up alleged dealers yesterday morning, as Project Woody came to an end.
As of 3 p.m., 42 out of 84 alleged dealers had been taken into custody. An additional four individuals were also arrested. Police seized 300 ecstasy pills, one ounce of marijuana and a vehicle from one person.
The remaining 40 individuals will have warrants requested for their arrest.
During the course of the investigation, police seized $68,000 worth of illicit drugs and $9,500 in cash.
Crack is still the overwhelming drug of choice for addicts in the downtown core, though Oxycontin is gaining in popularity, said Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban.
While the value of the drugs may not seem high, Ghadban said the purpose of the operation was to limit the street-level trafficking done by individual dealers, which leads to a reduction in residual crimes.
“There is a direct correlation between street-level drug addiction and the existence of criminal activity,” said police superintendent Ralph Erfle. “By choking off the street-level trafficking, we’re able to diminish the supply of drugs while simultaneously encouraging referrals to addiction support agencies.”
Several of the people charged yesterday were also picked up during the previous projects, police said.
Of the 84 people facing charges, 76 have previous criminal records totaling 1,660 convictions.
“We’re not dealing with everyday people here,” said Ghadban.