SSM OPP – Arrest Made & Large Amount of Property Seized

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sault Ste Marie Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU) seized approximately $214,000 in stolen property, approximately $38,000 in Canadian currency, approximately $5000 in US currency and approximately $4000 in drugs.

In January 2024, the OPP’s CSCU, Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau, and the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit, began a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) investigation related to pre-arranged drug transactions and stolen property in the City of Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding communities. Assisting with the investigation is the Sault Ste Marie Police Service (SSMPS), SSMPS Canine Unit.

On February 8, 2024, shortly after 11:00 a.m., the OPP conducted a traffic stop on Frontenac Street in the community of Batchewana First Nation. The driver was subsequently arrested, and police seized a cell phone, approximately $980 in Canadian Currency, over 30 grams of suspected cocaine (estimated street value of $3000), ten .270 rifle cartridges, and a 2021 black Dodge Ram pick-up truck.

Additionally, the OPP CSCU executed a CDSA search warrant at a residence on Sage Street in the community of Garden River First Nation. With the assistance from Sault Ste Marie OPP, the OPP’s North East Region Canine Unit, the Anishinabek Police Service (APS) and Batchewana First Nation Police Service, police seized approximately $37,000 in Canadian currency, approximately $5000 in US currency, 50 Catalytic converters (approximate value of $100,000), Honda snow blower (approximate value of $4000), 10 firearms, over two grams of suspected cocaine, over nine grams of crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.

Police also recovered the following stolen retail property; Canadian Tire: over 400 items valued at more than $31,000, construction equipment: over 40 items valued at more than $19,000, Peavy Mart: over 300 items valued at almost $24,000, Home Depot: over 200 items valued at almost $20,000, Walmart: over 200 items valued at almost $10,000, Marks Works Warehouse: over 50 items valued at more than $3,700, Trading Post: under 10 items valued at more than $1000, Sal Dan Development: under 10 items valued at approximately $1,200.

Ralph ROMANO, 49-years-old from Garden River First Nation was charged with:

  • Possession of a schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking-cocaine
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5000
  • Possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5000
  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm
  • Breach of firearms regulations-store firearm or restricted weapon
  • Careless storage of firearm, weapon, prohibited device or ammunition

The accused is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Sault Ste. Marie on March 11, 2024.

This investigation is continuing and if you have information related to stolen property contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or your nearest police authority. Should you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at: where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.