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A police investigation into an alleged organized criminal manipulation of Canada’s medical marijuana system, labelled Project Moon, has ties to Leamington.

York Regional Police say more than half a ton of cannabis, along with other drugs worth $40 million, was seized in a year-long investigation into an alleged Asian drug ring in Vaughan, Ont.

The investigation by the police service north of Toronto has led to charges against more than 40 people.

More than 7,000 allegedly illegal cannabis plants alone were seized from one farm in Leamington as part of simultaneous raids across southern Ontario on July 24.

“Project Moon demonstrates the need for these investigations to continue and how organized crime has manipulated and adapted to the current laws in Canada,” said Det. Sgt. Doug Bedford.

Police allege there was an organized effort to illegally produce pot plants for the black market as part of an operation that funded the production of synthetic drugs.

“There is evidence of this group fraudulently obtaining licenses to produce cannabis through Health Canada,” said Bedford.

The group allegedly bought or leased legitimate medical marijuana licenses and pooled them together, Bedford explained.

More than 20,000 cannabis plants were seized by police across Ontario as part of the investigation. Police also seized more than 560 kilograms of dried cannabis — police say much of it packaged and ready to ship, likely to the U.S.

“There is evidence this group was trafficking hundreds of pounds of cannabis daily,” said Bedford.

Police allege the cannabis operation was used to fund a “large-scale synthetic drug operation.”

More than 15,000 ecstasy pills, 23 kilograms of methamphetamine, 400 Viagra pills, 4 kilograms of magic mushrooms, a litre of a drug more commonly known as “the date-rape drug” and more than $200,000 in cash were also seized by police as part of Project Moon.

Police also report members of the Parkdale Crips, a Toronto-based gang, were arrested. The Crips members arrested allegedly worked as drug runners for the unnamed Asian crime group.

— with files from The Canadian Press