Local arrests made in $4.45M province-wide drug bust

Three from Sault face numerous charges after 24 search warrants were executed across Ontario last Friday.

Approximately $4.45 million in controlled substances were seized during Project Lancia, a six-month joint investigation involving the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and led by the Durham Regional Police Service.

Last Friday, 24 search warrants were executed at locations in Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie, states a press release issued today.

Three people from Sault Ste. Marie are facing a series of charges as a result.

Kim Morningstar, 50 years old:
• cocaine trafficking
• crystal methamphetamine trafficking
• possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking x2
• possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking x2
• possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking
• conspiracy to commit an indictable crime
• possession of cannabis for the purpose of distributing
• possession of another controlled drug for the purpose of trafficking

Destiny Nieminen, 25 years old:
• cocaine trafficking
• possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking x2
• possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking x2
• possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking
• conspiracy to commit an indictable crime

Kerri Peplow, 44 years old:
• cocaine trafficking
• crystal methamphetamine trafficking

Sault police also made an arrest in January on Bainbridge Street related to the Lancia Project that resulted in the seizure of $466,000 worth of narcotics, the largest in the history of Sault Ste. Mary Police Service.

“I want to start by thanking our partner agencies and of course our officers who put many hours into this project,” Chief Hugh Stevenson said in a statement posted on social media. “This was an extensive investigation over the past six months, and I am proud to say that our members were integral to the success of the project. Their professionalism and dedication helped remove more poison from our streets and the streets of surrounding communities. This project has saved lives.”

“The Lancia Project targeted a drug trafficking network, which operated throughout the province of Ontario,” the statement said. “The individuals were involved in the distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and illicit cannabis products.”

In total, 31 search warrants were executed during the Lancia Project, resulting in 24 arrests and 183 drug and firearms charges. In addition to $4.45 million in drugs, nine firearms, $221,000 in cash and five motor vehicles were seized.

The investigation was a joint project with the Durham Regional Police Service, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, Peterborough Police Service, Brantford Police Service and Ontario Criminal Intelligence Service (CISO).

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