“There was a daycare close by and a school across the street,” Insp. Todd Gilmore told CBC Hamilton on Friday. “Children were on the street playing when we got there.”
He wouldn’t specify where exactly the operation was set up, but said it was one of three shut down on the Mountain, in Stoney Creek and in Waterdown.
He says the electric grid’s setup in the home next to the school was “extremely unsafe.”
The bust was part of a major drug operation that was also smuggling cocaine into the Hamilton area via Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
After a six-month investigation by the RCMP, three Hamilton men and one Waterdown woman were arrested Thursday. Gilmore says the arrests were all made in public "calmly and without anyone getting injured," with the help of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Hamilton Police Service.
He says there will be “at least two more” people arrested in connection with the busts in the Hamilton area next week. The four arrested are in Hamilton court Friday.
Two of the arrested men are cousins, he said.
"It operated like a typical organized crime ring," Gilmore said. "It was processed [in Hamilton] and moved onto the streets through a series of traffickers."
RCMP seized more than five kilograms of cocaine at Pearson during the investigation. But Gilmore believes more drugs made it into the country prior to the start of the investigation.
According to police, cocaine in Hamilton runs for $42,000 to $55,000 a kilo on the streets.
Gilmore said the cocaine was being imported from various South American locations by couriers who would hide the product in luggage in secret pockets or in the walls.
The product was being sold widely in the Greater Hamilton Area. Gilmore wouldn't reveal the specific locations in South America where the drugs originated.