(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Yesterday, we reported that a number of police cruisers were speeding towards Fort William in a FLYING-V formation. Soon after, we discovered a Marks Street trap house was the subject of a search warrant. Police observed a suspected gang member flushing what they believe was crack cocaine down the toilet.
A number of people were arrested and transported to the Thunder Bay Police Service headquarters located at 1200 Balmoral Street. Police seized a large amount of cash exceeding $5000 as well as cocaine and suspected oxycodone pills.
The suspects appeared in a Thunder Bay Courthouse courtroom this morning in attempts to get released from jail. (This article is being updated as the suspects appear in court, check back again later for further updates, names, and new information.). Justice of the Peace Zelda Kitchekeesic was presiding over court this morning along with the talented Federal Crown Attorney Ron Poirier. Criminal defence lawyer Robert Atatise was working the duty counsel table.
- 21-year-old Ezra Beunaflor, a suspected gang member from southern Ontario.
- Anthony “AJ” Davidson, a resident of Thunder Bay.
- 25-year-old Gulee Yusuf, a suspected gang member from Southern Ontario.
- 38-year-old Sarah “Sarz” Margaret Decorte, a resident of Thunder Bay.
All suspects are facing the following charges:
- Possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
- Possession of proceeds of crime over $5000 (Canadian currency).
- Possession of oxycodone.
Decorte was also arrested on a “material witness warrant”, which means she was subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness in a trial. Her lawyer of choice appears to be Tyler Woods. She is held in jail and scheduled to return to court on February 3rd, 2020 for another swing at being released from jail.
Yusuf is also facing an additional charge of obstructing police by flushing suspected crack cocaine down a toilet. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow for another swing at getting released.
Davidson has some previous outstanding matters still working their way through court. He is remanded into custody.
Beunaflor appears to have Roy Karlsteadt as his criminal defence lawyer of choice. Davidson appears to favour David Bruzzese as his lawyer of choice.
Buenaflor is being held in jail for the time being and his matter has been scheduled to return to court tomorrow. He will be sent to the Thunder Bay District Jail for the time being.
It appears that 56-year-old James St Amand was also arrested at the location but was only charged with breaching his bail conditions.
39-year-old Laura Lee Cordone was also arrested at the location and was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She had an outstanding warrant for her arrest regarding allegations that she assaulted someone on September 26th, 2019. She may be released tomorrow to an address on Brent Street. Her criminal record has previous convictions for violent offences.
Court is still in session. At this point, it does not appear like anyone is getting released. This is a live article and is being updated as court develops.
This same home was the location of 2014’s 10th homicide. 51-year-old Rene Sortolovo was found dead in the building.
History on St Amand, dated May 8th, 2019:
Investigators with the Project Disruption joint task force executed two search warrants that resulted in drug seizures and arrests on Wednesday, May 8.
Both warrants were products of an ongoing investigation into drug and gang activity in the city.
The first warrant focused on an address in the 300 block of South Syndicate Avenue. Officers entered the residence at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday and arrested nine individuals. Three were released without conditions, while the remaining six were taken into custody.
As a result of the continued investigation, officers located crack cocaine and powdered cocaine, about $500 CAD, and paraphernalia consistent with drug trafficking. The drugs seized have an estimated street value of nearly $40,000 CAD.
A second search warrant focused on an address in the 600 block of Southern Avenue.
Officers gained entrance of that residence just before 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. A male who met officers at the door attempted to push them away and prevent them entry before then trying to flee the scene.
The male was arrested after a struggle that led to an officer becoming injured.
A second male who also tried to prevent officers from entering was arrested. Four others inside the residence were also arrested at the scene.
Following a search of the residence officers located a small quantity of suspected cocaine, paraphernalia consistent with drug trafficking, a semi-automatic rifle and ammunition.
As a result of these investigations, the following people have been charged:
• Ross Joseph Patrick HAGAN, 21, of Toronto: Possession of Cocaine for Purpose of Trafficking; Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
• Andrew Thomas OTWAY-GILBERDS, 28, of Thunder Bay: Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking; Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Unauthorized Possession of Firearm; Resist Peace Officer; Probation Order – Non Compliance
• Dustin Gary WARD, 34, of Thunder Bay: Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking; Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
• Zeeshaan ALI, 25, of Toronto: Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
• Denis Terry BERNARD, 35, of Rocky Bay First Nation: Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking; Failing to Comply with Condition Undertaking
• Troy Robert GLIDDEN, 34, of Thunder Bay: Obstruct Peace Officer; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking; Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000
• Jeffrey Raymond JACKSON, 35, of Thunder Bay: Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
• Said Mohamed KEYLIYE, 23, of Toronto: Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
• James Matthew ST AMAND: 56, of Thunder Bay: Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000; Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
JACKSON appeared in court Thursday and was released with a future appearance date. All other accused persons appeared in court Thursday and were remanded into custody with a future appearance date.
Project Disruption is an ongoing specialized joint force operation that includes resources and members from the Bay Police Service’s intelligence unit, OPP, Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and Anishinabek Police Service.