Five men have been arrested in connection with a vehicle theft investigation in Mississauga and the GTA.
Police allege the suspects used fraudulent means to obtain and sell over 20 vehicles that are worth $2.2 million in total.
At a July 24 news conference, Peel police announced that the service’s Commercial Auto Crime Bureau joined forces with investigators from Halton Regional Police, York Regional Police and the Canada Border Services Agency to conduct a four-month-long investigation.
Police say the investigation, dubbed Project Baijin, resulted in multiple arrests and high-end vehicle seizures.
“Project Baijin is a perfect example of the quality of work that can happen when the expertise of multiple agencies share information and work together for one common goal,” said Peel Regional Police Chief Chris McCord.
Police say the investigation, which was launched in April 2019, revealed that the stolen vehicles were being prepped to be shipped overseas in containers to China and European countries.
On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, investigators allegedly recovered six high-end vehicles from a business in the Kestrel Road and Meyerside Drive area in Mississauga. The seized vehicles include a 2015 Jeep Wrangler, a 2016 Mercedes GLE350, a 2018 Mercedes C300, a 2018 Audi A7, a 2018 Dodge Ram, and a 2019 Range Rover.
Police say that on April 10, two international students–He Cui, a 24-year-old man who currently resides in Markham and Wenqi Li, a 26-year-old man who also resides in Markham–were arrested and charged with possession of stolen property and possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking.
Both of the accused appeared in court on April 11.
Police say investigators found links throughout the GTA, Quebec and British Columbia that suggested vehicles were being obtained and brought to auto shops in Ontario.
Subsequent to the arrests, investigators conducted eight search warrants across the Peel, Halton and York regions with the assistance of Halton and York police.
As a result of the investigation, the following high-end vehicles were seized:
• 2018 Bentley GTC, $263,000
• 2018 Mercedes Benz GT50 AMG Convertible (1 of 500 produced): $230, 000
• 2017 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG $200,000
• 2017 Range Rover Black RRV $185,000
• 2019 Range Rover $167,286
• 2019 Audi Q7 $137,000
• 2019 Volvo XC90 $100,000
• 2019 GMC Yukon $93,000
• 2018 Dodge Ram $88,110
• 2018 Mercedes C43 $85,000
• 2017 Bmw X6 $83,000
• 2016 Mercedes GLE350 $80,659
• 2018 Audi A7 $74,846
• 2017 Audi Q6 Suv $71,000
• 2017 Range Rover Discovery $63,000
• 2018 Toyota 4Runner $50,000
• 2018 Jeep Wrangler $50,000
• 2019 Ford Mustang Convertible $50,000
• 2002 John Deere Backhoe $45,000
• 2015 Jeep $40,367
• 2016 Jeep Wrangler $30,000
• 2010 Bobcat S650 $10,000
The total value of vehicles seized is approximately $2.2 million.
At the news conference, police told reporters that some of the suspects used fake names and identities to purchase the vehicles. Police also said that some suspects reported the fraudulently obtained vehicles as stolen, prompting the Insurance Bureau of Canada to get involved in the investigation.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown appeared at the conference to thank police for investigating, adding that residents had complained of increased car thefts in Brampton.
On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, police charged He Cui, (who had been arrested before), Wenqi Li (who had been arrested before), 44-year-old Burlington man Krisztien Nemes, 42-year-old Mississauga man Ryan Gillard and 24-year-old man Radivoje Tadic.
All of the accused were held for a bail hearing and appeared in court on July 24, 2019.
The investigation is ongoing and further arrests are anticipated.
Anyone who may have information pertaining to this matter is asked to call investigators at the Commercial Auto Crime Bureau at (905) 453–2121, ext.3322.