The dawn of one of Toronto's most enthralling police investigations didn't truly begin until, well, dawn.
In the early morning hours of June 13, scores of Toronto police officers swarmed a series of apartment blocks in the city's west end.
A street gang known as the Dixon City Bloods, aka Dixon Goonies, aka Dixon True Bloods.
While centered at the now-infamous 320 Dixon Rd. site, police say the gang's activities "ranged far beyond, and involve serious crimes of violence, gun importation, and drug trafficking across Toronto and surrounding regions, including Windsor and Alberta."
For all the arrests -- 44 in total -- and guns and drugs and cash seized, nothing captured the public imagination like the idea that a long-speculated video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine may have been snatched up in that operation.
Ever since Gawker first reported on seeing a video of Ford huffing on what appears to be a crack pipe and making homophobic comments along the way, the very existence of the clip had been up for debate.
Gawker, of course, tried to buy it -- only to see see the author disappear.
"The video's owner reached out to the intermediary we have been dealing with," Gawker editor John Cook wrote on June 4. "He told him the video is gone."
But nearly five months later, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair made a big announcement: A computer file had been recovered from the Project Traveller raid, and "that file contains video images which appear to be those images which were previously reported in the press," Blair told reporters.
And it's got the Goonies written all over it.
The Rap Dictionary, a user-generated "ultimate resource for looking up hip-hop slang" offers a rare cache of information on the gang:
- The West Side (W/S) Dixon True Bloods (a.k.a. the "Dixon City Bloods" or "Dixon Goonies") are a mid-sized roaming territorial street gang whose origins can be traced back to a series of high-rise apartments situated on Dixon Rd... Although not proven, it is rumoured that one of the founding members of this set was a former member of a New York-based Bloods gang known as G-Shine who had relocated to the area around early 2000s.
- The Dixon Bloods control a cluster of high-rises on Dixon Road, namely 320, 330, 340, 370, 380 and 390 Dixon. The area in which this gang has claimed as their turf has a high concentration of Somalian immigrants which generally make up the same ethnic background of the majority of its members.
- Their enemies include the Doomstown Rexdale Crips, Stovetop Rexdale Crips, O-Blocc Rexdale Crips, Tandridge Rexdale Crips, Ghost Town Crips, Willowridge Crew and the All Crips Gang.
Vice magazinealleges -- and brace yourself for a few instances of that word here -- that one or possibly two incriminating Rob Ford videos were uploaded to an online storage site that had the street gang's signature on it.
The magazine alleges the account in question was registered under http://goonies.bugs3.com.
Mohamed Siad, an alleged Goonie, was reportedly in possession of the video -- the same man who was trying to sell it to the various media outlets.
The 27-year-old was arrested during the Dixon raid -- with the Toronto Sun reporting he tried to offer the Rob Ford video to prosecutors in exchange for leniency.
In addition, the house where police say the video was shot, 15 Windsor Rd., is close to the Dixon Road towers and, according to search warrant documents released last week, police allege it “belongs to a couple of crackheads but Dixon guys go there to ‘chop’ crack or just hang out and get drunk.”
Alleged Goonies Anthony Smith, Monir Kassim, Ahmed Dirie and Liban Siyad also frequented the address, according to the Globe and Mail. All of them were arrested in the Project Traveller raid, except for Smith, a previous resident of 340 Dixon Rd., who was shot dead months earlier.
And three of them -- Smith, Kassim and Khattak -- cozy up to Ford in this infamous image.
From left to right: Anthony Smith, Rob Ford, Monir Kassim and Muhammad Khattak.
The game may also be up for the Goonies, or Bloods.
At a press conference shortly after the raids, Toronto Staff Supt. Jim Ramer told reporters the gang had been effectively dismantled.
“We have taken out a great portion of that gang,” Ramer said. “We’re very confident with the arrests that we’ve made to this point in time.”
But the Goonies have already made their mark, transcending the street game and achieving what few gangs have ever managed to do -- roll into the political game.
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