Charges stayed in Toronto case of alleged international drug-smuggling ring

Drugs seized in Project Brisa. Toronto Police Service

Charges have been stayed in a Toronto police case from 2021 that the force referred to at the time as “the largest drug bust” in its history.

The investigation, dubbed Project Brisa, looked at the importation of cocaine and crystal meth from Mexico to California and then into Canada through tractor-trailers.

Police had unveiled what they claimed was $61 million worth of street drugs that were seized during the investigation at a press conference on June 22, 2021.

In an email to Global News, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said that on Monday it stayed the proceedings “against the remaining accused in Project Brisa” but did not provide details on why.

They indicated charges were stayed against 10 people.

“No reasons for the stays were provided to the Court in this case,” the email read.

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When charges are stayed, it means there is going to be no further court action to seek a verdict.

Drugs and vehicles seized in Project Brisa. Robbie Ford / Global News

Global News also reached out to the Toronto Police Service, which said it “cannot speak to the reasoning behind this decision” and referred to the PPCS.

“We worked closely with the prosecution on this very complex case, and continue to do so,” Toronto police said.

In June 2021, police had said Project Brisa began in November 2020 and alleged tractor-trailers were equipped with hydraulic traps capable of smuggling as much as 100 kilograms of drugs in one trip.

After executing several search warrants, police arrested 20 people from B.C., Toronto, Kitchener, Vaughn, Caledon and Brampton, including one under the age of 18, who were collectively facing 182 charges. Police said at the time that two people were still outstanding.

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Some of the drugs that were seized included, 444 kilos of cocaine, 182 kilos of crystal meth, 427 kilos of marijuana and 300 oxycodone pills. In addition, almost a million dollars in cash was seized, along with 21 vehicles including five tractor-trailers and one firearm, police said at the time.

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