Toronto police, corrections officers arrested in connection with marijuana grow-ops

Two Toronto police officers and three corrections officers were some of the 23 people arrested Thursday on suspicion of being involved with “a very elaborate criminal organization” that grew and sold marijuana and other drugs.

During a news conference Thursday, Toronto police Chief William Blair said an investigation in February into marijuana grow-ops in neighbouring York Region uncovered evidence that linked a Toronto constable to one of the residences under investigation.

Subsequent investigations led to allegations that a second member of the Toronto Police Service and three corrections officers were also involved in the “criminal enterprise, the primary purpose of which was the production and distribution of marijuana, the distribution of other drugs, and the laundering of the proceeds of their criminal enterprise,” Blair said.

Of 23 people arrested Thursday, 20 have been charged, including one young offender.

Kevin Bourne and Patrick Lee, who have served with the Toronto police for nine and eight years respectively, are in custody. They are expected to appear in a Newmarket court on Friday.

“The conduct alleged by these two individual officers, and quite frankly also by those corrections officers that are accused in today’s investigation, [means] that trust is challenged and we are very disappointed,” Blair said.

In addition to the arrests, investigators seized nearly eight kilograms of marijuana and $60,000 in cash during the raids Thursday, as well as three houses and five vehicles.

Superintendent James Ramer said the enterprise was run by “a very elaborate criminal organization” that was allegedly in operation for about two years and sold ecstasy and steroids as well as marijuana.

“It’s certainly disappointing to find out that you have two of your own members involved, but it’s work that needs to be done. We have to ensure the public trust and public confidence,” Ramer said.

The investigation continues.