Toronto police have arrested one of their own in connection to a major investigation into the region’s violent tow-truck “cartels.”
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced, at a Monday morning press conference, that police arrested 11 people, and laid over 50 charges in connection to organized crime in the towing industry. One of those arrested was Ronald Joseph, a 47-year-old Toronto police officer. Joseph was charged with breach of trust, theft, other corruption and organized crime-related charges.
Police allege Joseph stole an encrypted police radio and provided it to crooked tow-truck drivers so they could be the first to accidents.
Joseph made $118,403 in 2019, according to Ontario’s public salary disclosure documents.
The Superintendent of the Professional Standards unit, Don Sinopoli, said that the investigation began in August of 2019 after the theft of police encrypted radios.
“What we learned is that a consortium of tow-truck drivers were in possession of stolen police radios and were utilizing the encrypted transmissions to facilitate their business interests,” said Sinopoli. “The transmissions were broadcasted to other tow-truck drivers for a fee through the use of an internet-based app.
“One police officer was responsible for the theft of a police radio that was provided to the consortium.”
Sinopoli said that the stolen radio was “cloned and put back into TPS circulation” and the officer would flag accident locations to the consortium. Sinopoli alleged Joseph, who worked in an Etobicoke based division, owned a car-rental business and two two-trucks which were being operated by crooked tow-truck drivers.
“The officer would receive monetary compensation for the tow trucks, he would receive kickbacks for the tips he provided, and he would receive referrals for his car rental agency,” said Sinopoli.
Sinopoli says TPS found the radio on a tow-truck driver during a routine traffic stop and that in subsequent warrants found more stolen radios and parts that would aid in cloning them.
The tow-truck industry has been under the microscope since a Globe and Mail investigation outlining a massive organized crime ring in the GTA and a large police project which resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals and 100 charges. Police claim that four “tow-truck cartels” were involved in a wide range of crimes that includes murder, drug trafficking, and fraud.
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