Police have arrested a person in connection with the human-trafficking investigation dubbed Project Chameleon.
South Simcoe police say Oneil Burnel Hopkinson, 37, surrendered without incident on Nov. 20.
Earlier this month, officers arrested and charged three other people and seized tens of thousands of dollars in drugs in raids at two separate homes in Innisfil and Newmarket.
Project Chameleon was launched earlier this year. It stems from a report received by officers back in the spring, which indicated a female was being held in a residence in Innisfil for the purpose of providing sexual services. An initial probe identified two males as allegedly being involved in trafficking the female victim and exploiting her for financial gain. Further to the accusations of human trafficking, the female victim reported that one of the suspects had sexually assaulted her.
As the investigation progressed, three suspects were identified for apparently posting online advertisements for sexual services in relation to several females from the Bradford and Innisfil areas.
On Nov. 1, in partnership with police departments in York Region and Barrie, South Simcoe officers executed search warrants at a residence in Innisfil, and another in Newmarket. Police seized more than $30,000 in illicit street drugs including fentanyl, crystal meth, cocaine and a quality of pills believed to be oxycodone.
“South Simcoe … is committed to combatting human trafficking and protecting the victims of exploitation,” a South Simcoe media release said at the time. “Although difficult, police encourage anyone who is currently a victim of human trafficking or anyone who has been a victim of human trafficking in the past, to report all incidents to the police.”
Hopkinson is charged with trafficking in persons, material benefit from the trafficking of persons, material benefit from sexual services, advertising sexual services and sexual assault. He was held for a bail hearing.
Police say victims can seek assistance by contacting the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact detective constables Holly Murray ([email protected]), Dan Raymond ([email protected]) or Andrew Smith ([email protected]), or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.