After a (mostly) quiet week on the ongoing Rob Ford crack scandal, the rumour-mill revved up again this morning when police conducted a massive series of pre-dawn raids across the GTA targeting drug and gang activity. The crucial detail: much of the police presence centred on the neighbourhood where the video of Rob Ford smoking crack was allegedly shot (and where it was later shown to reporters from the Toronto Star and Gawker). Below, we round up the latest breaking news.
• The investigation pre-dates the crack scandal
The 39 search warrants and more than 30 arrests this morning were the culmination of a year-long investigation into the Dixon City Bloods, a gang operating out of the Dixon Road apartment complex where murder victim Anthony Smith lived and where it was rumoured the video was being held.
• The police are denying the raids are connected to the mayor…
Police Chief Bill Blair wouldn’t answer questions about whether the investigation uncovered anything about the video or Rob Ford. Earlier in the morning, a uniformed officer told residents on Dixon Road “this has got nothing to do with Rob Ford…This is guns and gangs.”
• …but there have been some leaks—big ones—suggesting otherwise
A highly placed source told CTV that police wiretaps recorded people discussing the Rob Ford crack video in detail—several weeks before Gawker and the Toronto Star broke the story. Meanwhile, other residents at the Dixon complex report that police officers told them to blame the mayor for the early-morning disruption.
• Police searched the home of Muhammad Khattak, who appears in this infamous photograph with the mayor
Around 7:30 a.m., five officers left Khattak’s parent’s Rexdale home with plastic evidence bags, one of which contained a Toshiba laptop. The Star’s photographer also snapped a photo of an officer holding a handwritten inventory of the cellphones confiscated. Police also stormed the Dixon Road building where murder victim Anthony Smith—the other man in the photo with Ford—lived.
• Rob Ford says he has nothing to do with the investigation—he didn’t even know about it
Ford wasn’t briefed before the raids (though a police spokesperson briefed his staff) and says he didn’t know anything until he heard the news this morning on the radio. Asked if he was under investigation, he said: “That’s news to me. They can investigate me all they want. I don’t do anything wrong.”