Peel police bust international auto theft ring; $10 million in stolen cars seized

Peel Police say they have dismantled a ‘prolific’ auto theft ring that was targeting vehicles in Mississauga and Brampton. Shauna Hunt with the results of the multi-jurisdictional investigation

Police in Peel Region have made several arrests and a massive recovery in connection to a multi-million dollar international car theft ring.

The three-month-long investigation, dubbed ‘Project R&R,’ resulted in the recovery of $10 million in stolen vehicles.

The investigation was launched after investigators noticed a trend of stolen vehicles, including Range Rovers, within Peel Region and the GTA. Police say the thieves targeted vehicles at Pearson International Airport, underground parking garages, and residential neighbourhoods late at night.

Police believe the 78 stolen vehicles they recovered in the bust were likely bound for Montreal and would have eventually been sent off to international destinations.

“Investigators identified members of the group actively stealing vehicles and then identified shipping and loading locations,” reads a release from Peel police. “The stolen vehicles were loaded and secured within containers and transported by truck or train to the Port of Montreal to be exported overseas.”

Police intercepted more than 25 containers at a number of locations — including in Brampton, Montreal, Germany, and Spain. They believe many of the vehicles were heading for the United Arab Emirates.

Officers executed seven search warrants across Peel Region which resulted in the recovery of the stolen vehicles and the arrests of four individuals. Police also recovered a quantity of cocaine and a prohibited magazine.

The four people arrested are all GTA residents and are facing a combined 34 charges.

Project R&R

Peel police worked alongside investigators from the Canada Border Services Agency and the Port of Montreal as part of the investigation.

“It must be said that Canada is now becoming known as a source country for exported stolen autos,” says Peel police chief Nishan Duraippah. “Of which Ontario has the highest volume, from which the GTHA has the highest volume.”

Duraiappah added that Peel Region could be the busiest centre of carjacking activity in the country.

“In addition to the nearly 2,400 stolen vehicles recovered in 2022, our officers have recovered over 500 vehicles in the first two months of this year,” Duraiappah says.

The Project R&R investigation is ongoing, and police believe there could be more arrests moving forward.

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