Peel Police announce $25 million cross-border drug bust, largest in police history

Peel Police have charged five men who they believe are behind the largest drug bust in the department’s history.

« Project Zucaritas », which was carried out in conjunction with United States Department of Homeland Security units in Detroit and Chicago, resulted in the seizure of nearly 400 kilograms of drugs worth more than $25 million, police said at a news conference Wednesday.

The drugs were concealed in the back of commercial trucks and a furniture company was also accused of involvement.

Peel Regional Police will provide details of ‘Project Zucaritas’, a narcotics investigation by the Specialist Enforcement Bureau which led to the seizure of illicit drugs and numerous arrests for drug trafficking.

“They were crossing the border by commercial truck,” Det. sergeant. Earl Scott.

Speaking at a press conference with large bags of seized drugs lying on a table, department chief Nick Millinovich called the 11-month investigation « the largest seizure in the service’s history », the calling it part of an attempted crackdown on crime organizations.

According to police, the seizures included 166 kilograms of cocaine, 182 kilograms of methamphetamine and 35 kilograms of ketamine.

The operation, which began in November 2021, led to an investigation of several commercial and transport companies that police believe were transporting drugs across the border.

One of the five men is being held in the United States until he can be brought to Canada for the Peel warrant. The other four were arrested and have been taken to court for bail hearings.

About 40 million drugs have been used so far this year, the deputy chief said, adding that police will not tolerate criminals who profit from preying on community members.

Project Zucaritas is the second major drug seizure reported by the service in recent months.

In August, Peel Police announced the seizure of 90 kilograms of drugs as part of “Project Warrior”.

That seizure was worth about $12 million, police said.

“We are going through a major opioid crisis in this province, and Peel is no exception,” Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich said at the time. Four people have been charged in connection with Project Warrior.

Peel Police say the community recorded 191 fatal overdoses in 2021, compared to 186 in 2020. He said opioids were responsible for 88% of fatal overdoses in 2021 and the majority of these were due to fentanyl.

Jason Miller is a Toronto Star reporter who covers crime and justice in Peel Region. Contact him by email: or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic


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