Toronto-area police have laid nearly 200 charges, including murder and arson, in relation to a violent turf war in the breakdown lorry industry.
Police allege competition for control of the towing market has resulted in a "scene of violence" in the region.
Rival lorry companies were allegedly fighting over not just the profits of towing vehicles, but subsequent insurance frauds.
Police say the turf war was connected to several organised crime groups.
"Their fraudulent billing, fraudulent repairs, [and] fraudulent physiotherapy claims have earned them millions in illicit income," said York Regional Police Superintendent Mike Slack said on Tuesday, when announcing the charges. "And when these profits were not enough they staged collisions using drivers they recruited".
"As the profits increased, so has the demand for the territory, and the need to control that territory through violence," he said.
The region has seen at least 30 arson attacks believed to be connected to the towing industry over the past year, and multiple drivers have been shot at or killed, according to newspaper the Globe and Mail.
The crime spree caught the attention of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
"We're coming for you, and we're going to catch you. The party's over," he said last March.
The investigation, which was dubbed Project Platinum because of the high-end lorries being used by the companies, involved law enforcement from three police agencies and the Canada Revenue Agency.
The public learnt of the turf war last summer, when Toronto Police announced they had arrested seven drivers for gun and drug offences.
But Project Platinum, led by York Regional Police, sheds more light on the inner workings of the industry.
The investigation found that the towing companies worked with complicit auto repair shops, car and truck rental companies, and physiotherapy clinics to defraud insurance companies.
Tow truck companies would hire fake drivers to stage accidents on roads and in parking lots, police claim.
When a group of insurance companies tried to fight the fraudulent claims in court, their law firm, Carr Law, became the target of violence, threats and extortion, according to police.
Police searched locations in several cities and towns in the Greater Toronto Area, including Hamilton, Brantford, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Oakville, Toronto and the towns of Aurora and East Gwillimbury.
Twenty people have been arrested and 191 charges brought forth, including one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and multiple counts of fraud, arson and property damage.
Eight of those arrested remain in custody, including Mohamad El-Zahawi, 38, of Toronto, who was just charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of Soheil Rafipour in 2018.
Mr El-Zahawi's next court appearance is on 21 July.
A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Police also seized over 40 firearms, 11 tow trucks, and illegal drugs including cocaine, fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine, worth $1m Canadian dollars (£590,000).
"With the accused facing charges and their assets seen, we expect the extreme level of violence we have seen in our community to diminish," Superintendent Slack said.
Police expect more arrests to follow in the coming months, and they have called on governments to pass regulations for the towing industries. Currently, only 17 of Ontario's 444 municipalities require towing to be licensed, according to the Globe and Mail.
It doesn't say who the criminal gangs are related to Mexico or not but I did read another article today on it and they said brass knuckles were confiscated which made me think of the Hell's Angels but the guy charged with murder has an East Indian or Muslim name but maybe he was 1 of the hired hands for the accidents to take place for insurance.
Seems like CJNG has been making a fairly sizable push into Canada lately, and they produce a lot of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine I believe?
I'd imagine as well that the Hell's Angels are involved. They seem to have their hands in everything and tow truck crap seems right up their alley, so it could be a feud between them and the East Indians/Arabs. Or as you say, hired associates since last I heard the 81 has some bogus rule that does not allow people of colour or women to become full patch members.
Being from Australia we have a Lot of Canadians here importing and distributing Large Amounts of Drugs with CJNG. A lot of Canadians are involved at a very High Level in International Trafficking and since prices are so High here it's going to remain an attractive Destination for Traffickers. The Prison sentences handed out are always in the 5-15 year range so with High Profits and a more Lax sentencing range then America it's going to stay the same. Sorry I know a bit of Topic just thought I would Add to the Canadian side of it
No worries at all, thank you for your input! What you've written there is very interesting, I had heard that Australia has a fairly large problem with 1% biker gangs just the same as we do. Would you agree that that rumour is correct?
I'm not too surprised that Canadian criminals are becoming prominent traffickers. We have a much bigger problem with organized crime here in Canada than people are willing to talk about / recognize, and that is probably a big part of why it does so well here in all number of different sectors. Construction & Quebec is probably the most notorious one, but money laundering for transnational syndicates is another big one that has been coming out recently but has been going on for ages.
Yes the Rumour is correct and some states have brought out Strong Anti Biker Laws to combat them. There always seems to be Bikie Wars going on with not alot of Murders but alot of Non Fatal Shootings and Fire Bombings.
Canadian Crime I think is overlooked as Canadians World Wide areseen as very Nice and Friendly people.
However their Underworld is very Violent with Mom Boucher,the Hell's Angels vs Rock Machine Biker Wars also the attacks on Vito Rizzutos family once he was Extradited and then his Vengeance upon his Return plus a Bikie Massacre of 8-9 people a number of years ago and countless more.
What's more surprising is in Australia the Canadians are always the importers and at the Apex of Crime