Canadian police arrest 22 in crackdown on gun and drug smugglers

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a roundtable discussion with members of Sun Youth non-profit organization, victims and survivors of violent crime in Montreal, Quebec, Canada July 11, 2022. REUTERS/Evan Buhler/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police arrested 22 people, seized 27 handguns and drugs worth C$1.3 million ($1 million) during a 10-month investigation into a gun- and drug-trafficking network operating in Canada and the United States, authorities said on Wednesday.

The seized guns were obtained illegally and with criminal intent, Ontario Provincial Police Chief Superintendent Paul Mackey told reporters. He said Canadian authorities worked with U.S. law enforcement officials on the crackdown.

With gun crime on the rise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has proposed freezing handgun purchases as part of a broader gun control package under consideration in parliament.

Last week Canada announced a temporary ban on the import of handguns until the legislation is implemented. Canada has much stricter gun laws than the United States.

Police brought more than 400 charges by the time the investigation concluded in late July, according to York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada's most populous province. The drugs included cocaine, fentanyl and heroin.

($1 = 1.2763 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Howard Goller)

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