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Dozens arrested as police target gang's drug trade

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Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg police show off some of the items seized through Project Falling Star, a nine-month investigation that targeted the Manitoba Warriors gang.

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Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg police show off some of the items seized through Project Falling Star, a nine-month investigation that targeted the Manitoba Warriors gang.

The Winnipeg Police Service showed off its newest trophies Friday morning following a nine-month investigation targeting the Manitoba Warriors and the notorious gang's drug trade.

Set out on a table in the police media room were a wide range of items seized during the execution of numerous search warrants, including guns of various sizes and calibres, ammunition, other weapons such as machetes, a stun gun, nunchucks and brass knuckles as well as bullet-proof vests, weigh scales, more than a dozen cellphones and thousands of dollars in cash.

The haul was the result of Project Falling Star, which began last spring with the goal of cracking down on the gang's crack cocaine and cocaine trafficking.

"We're at the point where we had made a number of recent arrests and wanted to let the public know what had been done relative to this initiative," said Sgt. Wes Rommel.

Last week, officers executed a search warrant in the 700 block of Main Street, resulting in five people being charged with drug-related offences.

Since Project Falling Star began, charges have been laid against 57 members of the Manitoba Warriors or their associates. Arrest warrants have also been obtained for 22 more people with gang connections.

It's difficult to tell how big the crack cocaine business is in the city but Rommel said there's no question it's a problem.

"Crack is one of the drugs at the fore in Winnipeg," he said.

Police aren't closing the book on the file now that the investigation has run its course, Rommel said.

"Just because (Project Falling Star) happened doesn't mean other things aren't going on at the same time," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2014 A10

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