News Toronto

Driftwood Crips gang targeted in Toronto Police raids

Toronto Sun crime reporter Chris Doucette. (Sun files)

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

Detective Sergeant Brett Nicol addresses Toronto Police and other police services in Project Kronic raids targeting the Driftwood Crips.

Detective Sergeant Brett Nicol addresses Toronto Police and other police services in Project Kronic raids targeting the Driftwood Crips.

TORONTO - 

One of the city’s older, more violent street gangs — the Driftwood Crips — has been dismantled for the second time in a decade.

Toronto Police say a year-long investigation — dubbed Project Kronic — culminated Thursday in a series of pre-dawn raids across the province.

While police revealed few details of the massive gang sweep, Chief Mark Saunders said more than 800 officers from 20 forces executed 77 search warrants in Kingston, London, Sudbury, Niagara Region and other locations.

Officers hauled in some 120 alleged gang members and associates on more than 660 charges relating to criminal organization offences, attempted murder, kidnapping conspiracies, robbery and trafficking in firearms and drugs.

“These are thugs that are trying to intimidate neighbourhoods and gain control and participate in unlawful activity, including murder and other things,” Saunders said of the notorious Jane-Finch gang during a news conference at Police Headquarters on Thursday.

“We are all safer as a result (of these arrests),” the chief added.

The Driftwood Crips were also targeted in a 2007 gang sweep — dubbed Project Kryptic — when former police chief Bill Blair declared the gang had been dismantled.

At the time, the gang’s operations centred mainly around a social housing complex on Driftwood Ct. and a handful of locations in southern Ontario.

But over the last decade, a new crop of gang bangers stepped in to fill the void and expanded the criminal enterprise across the country, according to police.

“We allege the Driftwood Crips are a criminal organization comprised of a number of different cells operating throughout Ontario and Western Canada,” Saunders said, adding one gang member was allegedly “supplying a large quantity of fentanyl and cocaine to a network of dealers in the Sudbury area, which included a member of Hells Angels.”

“We believe the Driftwood Crips have a clear rank structure (with) a number of leaders controlling separate cells, some of whom are running their operations while incarcerated,” he said.

The chief was unable to say if the convicts still allegedly calling the shots were among the 95 people arrested back in 2007.

Saunders also was unable to elaborate on the violent crimes tied to the accused in Project Kronic. However, details of the investigation will be revealed Friday, he added.

DRIFTWOOD CRIPS TIMELINE

Despite being dismantled by a gang sweep in 2007, the notorious Driftwood Crips street gang managed to rebuild and expand across Canada from a base in northwest Toronto public housing complexes:

-Driftwood Crips have been active in the gun and drug trade since the mid-1990s.

- Crips sects took control of the area north of Finch while the area south of Finch remained turf of other gangsters, the Bloods.

- In 2005, three brothers — who cops referred to as the “three generals” — sat at the helm of the Driftwood Crips

- One brother, Peter Johnson, aka P-Dawg, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years for a nightclub shooting that killed an innocent bystander and wounded another man.

-Younger brother Nadel and older brother Michael were among 95 people arrested in 2007 during a massive investigation into the gang dubbed Project Kryptic.

-In 2008, Michael was sentenced to 8 1/2-years for trafficking and robbery while Nadel was handed 2 1/2-year sentence for belonging to a criminal organization.

-Police seized more than $1 million in drugs, dozens of guns and $225,000 in cash during the 2007 raids in the GTA and elsewhere in Southern Ontario

-The gang was thought to have been crippled by Project Kryptic, but a decade later the Driftwood Crips were thriving and had expanded their operations as far north as Sudbury as well as across Western Canada

-Another 120 suspected gang members and associates were arrested Friday as part of a year-long investigation into the gang dubbed Project Kronic.

-The neighbourhood where the gang is based has seen an abundance of violence over the years including a mass shooting the spring of 2005 that injured five people and was thought to be tied to an ongoing dispute with a Rexdale gang.

cdoucette@postmedia.com

Watch the press conference held at noon: