UPDATE: Toronto police said the boy was found safe Thursday night. Read the full update here.
A 14-year-old boy abducted by two suspects from Toronto’s north end was taken after a relative was allegedly involved in the theft of approximately $4 million worth of cocaine, police say.
Toronto Police Supt. Steve Watts provided an update to reporters Thursday evening, just over 24 hours after police were called by the victim’s father to report he was missing.
Watts said the drug theft happened in the summer of 2019. He said approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine was taken and that it’s worth around $4 million. He described some of those involved in the incident as “high-level cocaine traffickers.”
“Toronto is an epicentre and is a jump-off point for large shipments of cocaine. That’s not a secret,” Watts said.
He said the relative, who hasn’t lived in the GTA since the summer, has cooperated with officers.
Police were contacted at 5:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday. He was last seen near his North York home at around 8:30 a.m. Officers said it was initially reported the 14-year-old could be heard screaming, “Help me, help me.”
Investigators said the boy was abducted and forced into a vehicle by at least two male suspects wearing black jackets and bandanas on their heads. They are believed to be between 18 and 22 years old.
A black Jeep Wrangler with oversized front tires and a front push bar with round fog lights was identified by police as the suspect vehicle. Watts said it’s believed that vehicle was found burned out approximately 55 kilometres away from the Toronto home in a Caledon, Ont., park.
Watts said officers responded after 8:30 a.m. and canvassed the neighbourhood for eight hours in order to figure out what happened. He said it wasn’t until the boy’s father called police that the two incidents were connected.
An Amber Alert was issued at around 12 a.m. on Thursday.
Watts told reporters that it’s believed the boy is still alive, encouraging the suspects to release the teen and contact a lawyer.
“I appreciate high-level cocaine business and the situation that faces them, but this is a 14-year-old, innocent child. He is not a part of that business. He is not a part of that lifestyle,” he said.
“I’m saying the full weight of the Toronto police will be brought to bear and we’ll push forward on this case.”
Anyone with information was asked to call police at 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.