Canadian Truckers Charged in Record $61M Drug Bust and Takedown of Smuggling Ring
Toronto, Canada – Truckers are among those charged in a record $61 million drug bust and takedown of a large-scale international smuggling ring.
On Tuesday, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) announced the takedown of a international drug-smuggling ring which spanned North America and resulted in a massive seizure of narcotics.
According to TPS, the smugglers used tractor-trailers modified with hydraulic hidden compartments to transport large amounts of contraband across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The international takedown, which was dubbed “Project Brisa” by Canadian and American law enforcement, spanned six months, according to Canadian officials.
The bust resulted in the seizure of five tractor trailers, 16 other vehicles, one firearm, and $966,020 cash (CDN currency).
In addition, 979 lbs (444 kgs) of cocaine, 401 lbs (182 kgs) of crystal meth, 941 lbs (427 kgs) of marijuana and 300 oxycodone pills were seized.
The street value of the seized drugs is estimated to be more than $61 million, TSP stated.
It is the largest international drug takedown in Toronto’s history, officials confirmed.
At least two of the tractor-trailers seized in the bust are owned by Brampton, ON-based Jag & Son Carriers, LTD and Idea Freight System Inc.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER Web, Jag & Son operates 11 power units and employs ten drivers, while Idea Freight owns three power units and employs four drivers.
It is alleged that between November 2020 and May 2021, Project Brisa investigators identified more than 20 individuals responsible for transporting the contraband.
The hydraulic traps within the tractor-trailers were capable of smuggling more than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of substance within a single trap.
Authorities were able to identify 43-year-old Jason Hall, of Surrey, BC, as the individual allegedly responsible for building the hidden compartments within the big rigs.
Known as the “Trap Maker,” Hall turned himself into Toronto police last week.
He is charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence and Participate in a Criminal Organization.
In addition to Hall, the following Canadian citizens have been arrested in connection with the smuggling ring:
• Ryan Nikolakakos, 28, of Toronto;
• Zaw Min Htoo, 23, of Toronto;
• Damoy Searchwell, 24, of Toronto;
• Samet Hysa, 28, of Vaughan;
• Hanif Jamal, 43, of Toronto;
• Wei Jie Huang, 28, of Toronto;
• Nadeem, Lila, 35, of Toronto;
• Yusuf Lila, 68, of Toronto;
• Gurbakhash Singh Grewal, 37, of Brampton;
• Amarbir Singh Sarkaria, 25, of Caledon;
• Harbaljit Singh Toor, 46, of Caledon;
• Harwinder Bhullar (female), 43, of Caledon;
• Sarjant Singh Dhaliwal, 37, of Kitchener;
• Gurveer Dhaliwal, 26, of Kitchener;
• Gurmanpreet Grewal, 26, of Kitchener;
• Sukhwant Brar, 37, of Brampton;
• Parminder Gill, 33, of Brampton;
• Andre Williams, 35, of Toronto;
• And one unidentified minor.
In total, the 20 individuals are facing 182 charges in connection with the smuggling operation.
However, two men are still at-large for their roles in Project Brisa.
Whillian Nhan, 23, and Scott McManus, 38, both of Toronto, are being sought by Canadian authorities.
Anyone with information is asked to contact TSP at (416) 808-2500, Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on TSP’s Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text “TOR” and your message to CRIMES (274637).