Police raid site linked to mayor's 'crack video'
Police have conducted a series of early morning raids targeting an apartment complex linked to a video purportedly showing the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said 43 arrests have been made targeting a gang called the Dixon City Bloods or Dixon Goonies. Police seized 40 guns, US$3 million (NZ$3.74m) worth of drugs and US$570,000 cash.
The raid included a building complex where reporters claim drug dealers showed them a cellphone video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Blair refused to comment further on any evidence seized, saying it would come out in court. Blair would not say if there was any connection to Ford.
Ford later thanked police for doing a great job with the raids, calling it good police work.
Ford reiterated that the video does not exist, but the mayor of Canada's largest city has never said he has never smoked crack.
The Toronto Star has reported that two reporters watched a video that appears to show the 135 kilogram mayor, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it.
The video has not been released publicly. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star said it was taken by men who said they had sold drugs to Ford.
Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.
CTV News reported on Thursday (local time) that unnamed source told them police were investigating the possible existence of such a video weeks before it was reported by the Star and Gawker.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, a close ally of Ford, said it was unlikely the police raids had anything to do with the mayor.
"The police say they were planned months ago, and it's an extensive raid, it's not just to do with that set of buildings in Etobicoke, it's throughout the GTA, involving other police forces," Holyday said.