Toronto police reveal details of their largest-ever international drug bust
Investigation dubbed 'Project Brisa' netted 1,000 kg of drugs, 20 arrests, police say
- On March 6, 2023, all charges linked to Project Brisa were stayed.
Toronto police announced the results of what the force is calling its largest-ever "international drug takedown" on Tuesday morning.
Investigators say the six-month investigation, dubbed "Project Brisa," focused on an international drug-smuggling ring, which saw more than 1,000 kilograms of drugs including cocaine, crystal meth and pot being transported between Mexico, California and Canada using modified tractor trailers with hidden compartments.
Chief James Ramer held a news conference about the bust Tuesday alongside representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Ramer told reporters the investigation started in November of last year, and that the quantities of drugs seized are "frankly staggering."
"The social cost that this amount of illicit drugs inflicts upon society is immeasurable," Ramer said.
Police say they believe drugs originated in Mexico and came up through the United States.
In a news release, investigators said shipping the drugs was made possible by the installation of hydraulic traps in tractor trailers, which were in turn able to smuggle 100 kilograms in a single trip. Not even X-ray scans were able to penetrate those traps, police say.
During the course of the investigation, police say they identified a person known as the "Trap Maker," who was allegedly responsible for building the hidden compartments.
A 43-year-old man from British Columbia who used that moniker turned himself in to police in Toronto last week, investigators say, and has been charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and participating in a criminal organization.
Collectively, 182 charges have been laid with 20 people arrested in connection with the investigation, investigators say.
Police estimate the street value of the seized drugs is more than $61 million.