Police arrest 15 in GTA cargo crime bust, recover goods worth $9.24M

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Police forces in the Greater Toronto Area arrested 15 members of an organized crime group and recovered stolen cargo, tractors and trailers worth $9.24 million.

Peel Regional Police (PRP) led the investigation dubbed Project Big Rig. Investigators targeted six locations, recovering 28 containers of stolen cargo worth $6.99 million and 28 tractors and trailers worth $2.25 million.

Project Big Rig
Examples of stolen cargo recovered through Project Big Rig. (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

Detective Mark Haywood from PRP’s commercial and auto crime unit said the suspects in some cases cut the fence to enter facilities, stole the truck and drove out. He added some thefts took place at truck stops and on the road after drivers left their loads unattended.

Vehicles, snowmobiles, ATVs recovered

Haywood said the 28 stolen loads varied in shape, size and value and included vehicles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.

An estimated $1.8 billion worth of goods travel through the Region of Peel every day, making it the largest cargo hub in Canada.

“Cargo and auto theft is not a victimless crime. It hurts people, inflicts financial harm and often leads to the funding of other criminal activity,” said Nick Milinovich, PRP’s deputy chief. “Project Big Rig is an example of our efforts to hold the individuals accountable who victimize our communities and residents. Let this be a reminder to all the criminal networks that we will continue to disrupt criminality of any kind.” 

Police officers standing during a press conference
Detective Mark Haywood addresses the media at Peel Regional Police headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Haywood said this criminal group was identified in December 2022. In March 2023, PRP collaborated with Halton Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, and Ontario Provincial Police in the Big Rig Project.

The charges that the 15 individuals face include: theft of motor vehicle; possession of property obtained by crime; fail to comply with release order; breach of probation; trafficking in stolen goods; mischief over $5,000; theft over $5,000; and break and enter.

Haywood said there is a high rate of recidivism in cargo crime and several suspects in this case are repeat offenders. He believed all members of this group have been arrested.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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  • The prosecutors will probably let them out on bail or with a slight tap on the wrist.
    Which is why there are re-offenders in the group!!!!