There appear to be more links between a massive drug and guns raid in southern Ontario and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, according to reports.
Here’s what reporters dug up Thursday, after Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair held a press conference to give details on “Project Traveller,” an early morning raid which netted illegal guns and drugs.
One (or two) of the men arrested Thursday were those photographed with Ford. Muhammad Khattak, 19, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking, reports the Star. Khattak is one of three men in a photo with Ford that was provided by the same men who tried to sell the Star and Gawker.com a video of the mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine while making homophobic and racists statements. Another man in the picture, Anthony Smith, was shot and killed in March. Khattak was also shot that night, but survived. CBC News reports that the other man in the photo was also arrested Thursday, but it doesn’t name him.
The police are looking for video and they knew about the photo for some time. The same CBC report that says two of the men in the photo were arrested also quotes a police source who says police have been investigating the link between Ford and the men in the photo for “some time.” Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Blair said: “I’m aware of that picture.” The CBC report also says a warrant shows that, in their raids, police were looking for video, cell phones and text messages.
A CTV report from Thursday quotes a police source who says that police knew about an alleged video of Ford smoking crack-cocaine for some time, due to information they collected through wiretaps.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair isn’t confirming or denying much of anything. Blair has used some version of the line “it will all come out in court” many times by now. The fact that Blair hasn’t said something along the lines of “this has nothing to do with the mayor,” while he has said “I don’t answer to the mayor,” has led some columnists to read between the lines.
Christy Blatchford at The National Post observes: “Chief Blair was directly asked several times why, if the Mayor wasn’t linked in any way to the investigation, he couldn’t just say so. He just didn’t.”
At the Toronto Star Rosie DiManno uses a similar argument: “Blair could have easily removed Ford from the equation by clearly stating what the investigation is not pursuing, the angles that have no merit or traction, which wouldn’t compromise the case when it’s prosecuted.”
The weapons and cash seized in the raid are on display. While we may have to wait until court to know whether police are investigating Ford, some results of the raid are very clear. Police at 23 Division, near the site of the raids, displayed some of their haul Friday morning, including automatic weapons and at least one gun with a bayonette attached to the end. In total, police say they seized 40 weapons, $3 million worth of drugs and more than $500,000 in cash.
It would be funny if the weapons displayed from yesterday's raid were all cell phones. pic.twitter.com/1uAjQdy40m
— Steve Murray (@NPsteve) June 14, 2013
— Mark Carcasole (@MarkCarcGlobal) June 14, 2013
A total of 43 people have been arrested since Project Traveller began.