Toronto Police said on Tuesday that a seven month investigation into the use of “modified” drug smuggling tractor trailers led to the “largest international drug takedown” in the agency’s history.
On June 22, the Toronto Police Service held a major press conference to announce the results of “Project Brisa,” an investigation into an international drug smuggling ring that used tractor trailers as a key component in their efforts. The ring was allegedly responsible for transporting cocaine, crystal meth, and marijuana between Mexico, California, and Canada.
Police say that the smuggling effort hinged on the use of big rigs equipped with hydraulic traps capable of smuggling up to 100 kilograms of illicit substances at a time.
After the investigation launched in November 2020, police identified a person known as the ‘Trap Maker’ who was allegedly responsible for building “high-level” hidden compartments within the tractor-trailers for the purposes of smuggling large amounts of contraband across borders.
Supt. Steve Watts of the Organized Crime Enforcement Unit said that the traps were “sophisticated to the point where X-rays weren’t able to penetrate them.”
Jason Hall, 43, of Surrey, British Columbia, was later identified as the ‘Trap Maker.” He turned himself into police last week and is charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence and Participation in a Criminal Organization .
Twenty other people including one minor have been arrested in connection with the investigation. Two suspects remain at large. These twenty-two people are facing 182 charges collectively.
During the investigation police seized:
- 444 kilos of cocaine
- 182 kilos of crystal meth
- 427 kilos of marijuana
- 300 oxycodone pills
- $966,020 in CDN currency
- 21 vehicles, including 5 tractor trailers
- 1 firearm
The street value of the seized drugs is estimated at $61 million.
The investigation was aided by other Canadian and American law enforcement agencies.