A recently-paroled drug trafficker from the Halifax area was nabbed in a Toronto sting last month.

Ryan Belanger, 32, was one of 75 people arrested as part of Project Patton, according to a Toronto Police press release.

The man, now a Toronto resident, was on statutory release following charges relating to a December 2013 incident in Ontario where he and a co-accused were trying to cook powder cocaine into crack cocaine in his apartment.

He fled, leading to a Canada-wide-warrant for his arrest. He later surrendered and was sentenced to four years for possession for the purpose of trafficking and break-and-enter in 2014.

Belanger, who had six more conditions put on his parole in June 2017 for using cocaine at a night cub, is now charged with a number of new drug-related offences in the sting.

He faces charges from the June 21, 2018 bust that include possession of marijuana and cocaine, as well as possession of both substances for the purpose of trafficking. He is also charged with possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.

After the nine-month investigation, which targeted alleged crime group Five Point Generalz, police laid 1,000 charges and seized 78 firearms, 270 ammo rounds, 75 firearm magazines, and drugs including cocaine, fentanyl, cargentanil, heroin and marijuana. They also seized a total of $184,000.

Belanger was a known associate of Steven Skinner, who faces a September 2019 trial for the murder of 20-year-old Stacey Adams. Skinner fled the country following the killing, and was extradited in June 2017, after local police found him on a beach in Venezuela.

Adams was found shot in a car outside the Lake Echo, N.S. home Belanger was listed as owning in 2011.

Court documents link Belanger as the former boyfriend of Brittany Derbyshire, who was found not guilty of accessory to murder after the fact in the case. Belanger and his brother Jeff have also been named in Correctional Service of Canada documents as cocaine traffickers.

Belanger had been ordered by the Parole Board of Canada not to consume drugs, to avoid those involved in criminal activity, and was subject to a curfew and telecommunications restrictions after his parole violation in mid-2017.

During a press conference in Toronto on June 21, police showed off dozens of multi-coloured guns, drugs, and cash taken from the bust. “The individuals arrested in this operation are not simply kids being exploited by gang members, nor are they addicts being used to support their addictions,” said acting Insp. Don Belanger. “They are organized criminals, a significant number of whom are no strangers to the criminal justice system.”

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