Ottawa's 'Stateless Man' arrested in police raid
At 5 a.m. Monday Ontario Provincial Police pull off simultaneous, early morning raids at nine locations across Ottawa, Gatineau and Clarence-Rockland.
The main targets, four men at four different homes, after a seven-month long OPP operation ‘Project Landslide’, targeting drug and weapons trafficking all believed to have connections to Ottawa street gang operations.
Sources say through the seven-month long investigation, police seized an AK-47, AR-15 assault rifle, Uzi, glock handgun and 38-revolver. Police also seized hundreds of thousands of methamphetamine pills.
Sources say the men arrested are Marco Dubien in Gatineau, Leopold Mercier and his son Matthiew Mercier, both from Clarence-Rockland and Deepan Budlakoti of Ottawa.
Budlakoti, convicted of drug and gun trafficking in 2010, he’s also known as the “Stateless Man”, after he was ordered deported after his run-ins with the law. Born in Canada in 1989 when his parents worked at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, the government still doesn’t consider Budlakoti a Canadian citizen. Canadian government rules state when children are born to diplomatic staff working in Canada, it does not make them Canadian citizens. India has told Budlakoti he’s not welcome there either, so the 28 year old has been fighting for years to stay in Canada.
“He tries to volunteer to do whatever he can in the community,” says Budlakoti’s brother David, “he’s a changed man but they don’t want to see that.”
David, who is a Canadian citizen, lives with Deepan. The pair was home when the raids happened early Monday morning. David says police have the wrong man, “no guns were seized, there was nothing in the house,” David told CTV Ottawa, “he has no association with gangs. He’s trying to go on the straight and narrow path and they keep coming at him.”
During the morning raids police targeted the homes as well as two storage facilities and an automotive business.
While none of the allegations have been proven in court, all four men were charged and made their first court appearance Monday afternoon. OPP plan to hold a news conference on Wednesday to release details of “Project Landslide”.