(INTERNATIONAL) – Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and its partners have released more information regarding an investigation into the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs into Canada.
At a news conference today, OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM and Superintendent Bryan MacKILLOP explained how contraband drugs had been concealed in new vehicles built at a Ford Motor Company plant in Mexico being shipped via rail cars to Canada.
Employees at four Ford dealerships in Ontario are credited with notifying police after discovering methamphetamine stashed within spare tires that did not match the make and model of Ford Fusions being shipped.
Members of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) began coordinating a multi-jurisdictional investigation in December 2018 based upon information from members of the Greater Sudbury Police Service and OPP detachments in Collingwood and Caledon.
Members of OCEB then engaged with Ford Motor Company to find out where the remaining automobiles were shipped. Cars that were on a different rail car but part of the same shipment from Mexico made their way to Québec for dispersal to four Ford Motor Company dealerships in Québec and New Brunswick.
The investigation team grew to include Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Sûreté du Québec, and Woodstock New Brunswick Police Force. Police then received more shipping information from the Ford Motor Company to locate and seize more illegal drugs.
Six vehicles transported on the second rail car were found to contain packages of meth. Further inspections led to the discovery of drugs concealed in the same manner as well as information that allowed the OPP along with CBSA to intercept another shipment at the Canadian border. In total, 180 kilograms of meth located in vehicles shipped trans-continentally to Canada.
Police in Canada do not know where or when the actual exploitation of the legal cargo occurred.
“Smugglers continue to find innovative ways to bring their drugs into Canada and Ontario which are then distributed by the criminal element operating in our communities. Project SEBRIGHT serves as an example of how we have disrupted a major drug smuggling operation responsible for importing meth into Canada.” – Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, Provincial Commander OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.