Ontario police are blaming the Sinaloa cartel for a massive meth smuggling operation into Canada that involved hiding the drug in new Ford vehicles recently imported from an assembly plant in Mexico.
On Wednesday, Ontario Provincial Police told reporters how employees at four Ford dealerships across the province discovered “suspicious” packages inside spare tires in the trunks of newly-arrived cars. The employees alerted the police who later confirmed that the packages contained meth and were smuggled by rail in cars built at a Ford assembly plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
The powerful Sinaloa cartel once lead by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is “well-entrenched in that area of Mexico,” OPP Superintendent Bryan MacKillop told reporters.
“We are very certain that they are ultimately responsible for these drugs.” However, no criminal charges have been laid as part of the investigation.
Officers working as part of the OPP operation nicknamed Project Sebright worked with Ford to eventually uncover more than a dozen other vehicles containing meth that had been shipped into other Canadian provinces via rail. A subsequent shipment of more cars containing meth was then intercepted before it crossed the border.
“Ford was taken advantage of,” David Glos, with the Canada Border Services Agency, told CTV News. A spokesperson for Ford Motor Company of Canada also told the news outlet that it is continuing to work closely with law enforcement.
OPP said officers seized they seized a total of 180kg of meth, with a street value of more than $4.5 million. The investigation is ongoing, but meth has not been discovered in recent shipments, a sign police say confirms their work was successful.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum pointed out that methamphetamine police seizure rates have been increasing since 2010. He also said that the use of methamphetamine has been “on the upswing as of late,” but did not say how he knew that.
VICE News reported in December that the Sinaloa cartel operates at least 2,000 meth labs.
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