5 charged in ‘highly-orchestrated’ vehicle theft ring: Peel police

Peel regional police say the discovery of more than half-a-million dollars worth of high-end stolen vehicles at an industrial storage unit in Mississauga in April led to the dismantling of a “highly orchestrated” organized crime ring.

Peel police chief, Chris McCord, said officers discovered $620,000 worth of stolen vehicles in a unit near Highway 401 and Highway 10 on April 10.

Two men, Chinese nationals in Canada on student visas, were arrested. Police say their arrests launched a joint-forces operation called Project Baijin that ultimately led to the seizure of $2.2-million worth of stolen cars from Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

Several search warrants were executed on Tuesday. The two men arrested in April were re-arrested on additional charges, and three other suspects were arrested and charged. They all remain in custody pending bail hearings.

During Tuesday’s raids police said they recovered vehicles, as well as key programmers, wireless electronic devices, licence plates and fraudulent documentation. In total 28 vehicles have been seized during the investigation, including a Bentley worth over $250,000 and a Mercedes Benz convertible valued at $230,000.

“The majority of these vehicles recovered to date were purchased fraudulently by using fake identification and fictitious employment records along with address records,” McCord added.

The vehicles were then prepped to be shipped overseas to China and parts of Europe. Police said two chop shops were operating in Mississauga.

“There are five males currently in custody facing charges related to identity fraud, identity theft, theft and possession of stolen property as well as trafficking of stolen property,” added Det. Sgt. Donald Jorgensen.

Jorgensen said in some cases cars were purchased with fake I.D., and then the suspects would “stop paying for the car,” or they would be reported as stolen.

“The market for these vehicles overseas is high,” he said.

Jorgensen stressed that the investigation is ongoing and that there are at least 50 stolen vehicles that police are tracking that haven’t yet been recovered.

Vehicles seized during Project Baijin. HANDOUT/Peel Regional Police

The following people were arrested and charged: (Peel regional police)

  • He Cui, a 24-year-old man from Markham was charged with multiple counts of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking, breach of recognizance, and utter forged document.
  • Wenqi Li, a 26-year-old man from Markham was charged with multiple counts of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking, and breach of recognizance.
  • Krisztien Nemes, a 44-year-old man from Burlington was charged with multiple counts of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking, fraud over $5,000, and utter forged document.
  • Ryan Gillard, a 42-year-old man from Mississauga was charged with multiple counts of identity fraud, fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking, utter forged document, possession of counterfeit mark, and possession of property obtained by crime.
  • Radivoje Tadic, a 24-year-old man from was charged with multiple counts of utter forged document, fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of property obtained by crime.