London police seize 26 guns, $8.5M in drugs as part of months-long sweep

London police have laid hundreds of charges, and seized multiple guns and millions in illegal drugs during a three-month operation.

Project SAFE, which stands for Shooting and Firearms Enforcement, was carried out between April and July, with the aim of addressing gun violence in the southwestern Ontario city.

So far this year, there have been 20 shootings in London, according to police.

“Every single firearm discharge causes us great concern,” said Det. Insp. Chris Churney during a media briefing Thursday morning. “Each incident has the potential to kill or seriously injure someone.”

Project SAFE was launched following a series of seven shootings during the first two months of this year. Churney said they focused on targeting known offenders to either gather evidence to arrest suspects and lay charges or disrupt criminal operations.

During the course of Project SAFE, police carried out 24 search warrants in London, along with two others in Hamilton and Sudbury.

Police said 26 guns were seized, including 22 handguns and four long guns. Over $8.5 million in drugs were seized, including fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine, psilocybin, MDMA, methamphetamine, hydromorphone and oxycontin.

London police seized 26 firearms during Project SAFE, including 22 handguns and four long guns. (London Police Service)

In total, 70 people were charged with a combined 550 charges, stemming from weapons and drug violations.

The operation was led by the London Police Service (LPS) Guns and Gang Section, in collaboration with Ontario Provincial Police, Hamilton Police Service, Greater Sudbury Police Service, the Canada Border Services Agency, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Correctional Service of Canada, and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada.

“I’d be naive to suggest that we could accurately state how many firearms there are out there and how many continue to come across out borders,” said Churney.

“But what I do take comfort in, however, is the shared passion that our teams here at LPS and within our law enforcement partner agencies have toward maximizing our resources and intelligence-sharing capabilities.”

Leave a Comment