Hundreds of police officers target gangs in organized crime raids
Police forces across Manitoba arrested more than 20 alleged gang members in one of the biggest raids on organized crime in the province's history.
Heavily armed officers were seen taking suspects into custody at numerous locations around Winnipeg on Wednesday. Among the locations searched by police was the Hells Angels' clubhouse on Scotia Street. Officers also raided a residence on Pembina Highway, among other spots.
The raids were part of Project DIVIDE. This investigation into organized crime stretches back more than a year.
A high-ranking member of the Hells Angels is in police custody along with numerous Zig Zag Crew members.
Police say 26 people were arrested. Suspects have been charged with a number of offenses, including drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms trafficking.
Members of the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force were joined by more than 300 officers in the operation. Winnipeg police, RCMP, Brandon police and Ste. Anne police took part, along with officers from B.C. who worked on the case in that province.
Police are still looking for eight more suspects.
"By the time these warrants are all executed, we will have arrested every single member of the Zig Zag Crew," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Line Karpish.
Some organized experts say these types of large takedowns can create instability on the streets and in the local drug market with rival gangs now thinking they have more room to conduct their business.
During the raids on Wednesday, officers seized a shotgun and drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
"The impact is huge. It's going to affect the mid-level dealers. It's going to affect the lower-level dealers," said Winnipeg police spokesperson Const. Jason Michalyshen.
Police have formally charged the following people with offenses in connection with the raids:
Sean Sebastian Wolfe, 33, Manitoba Hells Angel member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Thomas Edward Winget, 25, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Corey Lee Gingera, 33, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ronald Guy Normand, 33, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Joseph George Ducharme, 33, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Benjamin Morris Zapata, 27, Zig Zag Crew, member, Brandon, Manitoba
Wayne Everette Shuttleworth, 39, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Craig John Mirus, 28, Zig Zag Crew member, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Timothy Cameron Brown, 21, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ryan Cory Sawatzky, 28, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Steve Douglas Mager, 32, Winnipeg, Manitoba
David William Single, 34, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Patricia Anne Walsh, 35, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Stuart James Richer, 34, RM of Springfield, Manitoba
Aerock Waede Hallberg, 23, Brandon, Manitoba
George Adrian Ducharme, 24, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Dustin Jeremy Barker, 21, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Edwin William Panting, 25, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Kerry Lorne Adam, 36, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Christopher Roger Dheilly, 25, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Andrew Gregory Coffin, 24, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jefferson Wilkinson Greaves, 36, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Nello Eduardo Chiappetta, 38, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Joseph Ronald Desjarlais, 34, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- with reports from CTV's Caroline Barghout, Stacey Ashley and Kelly Dehn
Check out shots of the takedown in our photo gallery.
UPDATE: photos of drugs and items seized during Project DIVIDE now added to the gallery.