More than 10,000 Canadians received a medically-assisted death in 2021: report
Quebec Superior Court suspends Bill 96’s translation requirement until constitutionality determined
The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence
FBI took 11 sets of classified material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home while investigating possible Espionage Act violations (US)
Ontario class action settlement reclassifies volunteers as employees, setting new precedent
Availability of Judicial Review in SABS Disputes
Are masking policies still valid?
Justice Canada releases commission report on impact of lack of legal aid in family law disputes
Harmonized sales tax part of maximum amount of attendant care benefits owed by insurer: court
New rules coming next month to help Canadians with cancelled and delayed flights
Stephen King set to testify for govt in books merger trial (US)
New law program in Quebec to begin next fall, a first in 50 years
The Impact of the Lack of Legal Aid in Family Law Cases
SCC rules that when someone is required by their partner to wear a condom but do not, they could be guilty of sexual assault.
Big Plastic suing feds over single-use ban — again
Tim Hortons offers coffee and doughnut as proposed settlement in class action lawsuit
The SCC has refused to hear the appeal to declare the renewal of the state of health emergency by the Quebec government invalid
Federal privacy commissioner investigating controversial ArriveCAN app
Kraken, a U.S. Crypto Exchange, Is Suspected of Violating Sanctions (US)
Ontario court certifies class action on former patients’ anxiety from notice of risk of infection
The stakes couldn’t be higher as Canada’s top court decides whether to hear climate class action lawsuit
Professor Barnali Choudhury selected by EU as trade and sustainable development expert
The Supreme Court decision on the ‘Ghomeshi’ amendments will help sexual assault victims access justice
AFN Reaches $20 B Final Settlement Agreement to Compensate First Nations Children and Families

GTA tow-truck industry violence: Charges against 6 withdrawn as prosecution case partially collapses

Accused had been charged with planning a murder along with a slew of arson, gun and drug offences.

PHOTO: A police investigation into organized crime in the Greater Toronto Area's tow-truck industry has partially fallen apart after lawyers for the Crown stayed charges against six people who were originally accused of more than 70 arson, drug and gun offences. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)
The high-profile, months-long police investigation aimed at snuffing out violence in the Greater Toronto Area’s tow-truck industry has partially collapsed, leaving six people who were accused of more than 70 arson, drug and gun offences walking out of court with their charges stayed.

Dubbed Project Platinum, the York Regional Police-led operation targeted individuals who investigators alleged were involved in a deadly battle for control of the GTA’s towing industry. The feuds led to at least four murders, assaults, shootings and the torching of at least 30 tow trucks, police alleged.

In May 2020, YRP announced 19 arrests as part of the joint forces investigation in collaboration with Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto police and the Canada Revenue Agency.

But earlier this month, Crown prosecutors withdrew charges against six people who were being tried as a group.

‘The Crown surprised everybody’

Police had accused the six people of being part of a criminal organization involved in drug trafficking, gun possession, arson and of planning a murder.

Criminal lawyer Jag Virk, who represented one of the accused, told CBC News that the Crown had previously withdrawn several firearm offences against his client. He said lawyers for the Crown stayed all remaining charges against the six defendants two weeks ago in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket.

“The Crown surprised everybody because we were in the middle of pretrial motions,” Virk said.

“[My client] was ecstatic. He was shocked. He was on strict house arrest and having his freedom finally given back to him after two years is a weight lifted off his shoulders.”

Virk said the charges were stayed after the judge ordered the Crown to disclose some information on a phone wiretap warrant that was redacted in a previous version provided to the defence. The Crown took the position that doing so would reveal the identity of an informant, Virk said, and chose to stay the charges instead of disclosing that information.

A YRP spokesperson said the operation still had the effect of reducing crime and violence within the industry by dismantling a large criminal organization.

“Successful prosecution is not the only measure by which we achieve our community safety goals,” Const. Laura Nicolle wrote in an email.

“We are proud of the fact Project Platinum halted the significant street-level violence that was plaguing our community in the months leading up to the arrests … These efforts resulted in a substantial decrease in violence connected to the tow truck industry.”

Nicolle added the police force is happy with regulatory changes brought in by the Ontario government last year in response to violence in the tow-truck industry, including a pilot project that introduces restricted towing zones on highways and a joint team to address violence and fraud in the industry.

2nd high-profile case to fall apart

The collapse of the case against the six people is the second time in a year that a high-profile investigation led by York Regional Police has fallen apart.

Last February, one of the largest police investigations into organized crime in Ontario’s history fell apart after police allegedly illegally intercepted phone calls as part of a multimillion-dollar probe into suspected mafia activity in the Greater Toronto Area.


Investigators from York Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police Service and the Canada Revenue Agency launched a joint forces investigation dubbed Project Platinum in February 2020 in response to killings, attempted murders, assaults, arsons, threats and property damage in the region. (York Regional Police)

The operation, dubbed Project Sindacato, resulted in charges against nine people in Canada who police alleged were part of a criminal organization with ties to the mob in Italy.

The group was accused of running illegal gambling operations, fraud, drug trafficking and laundering money through casinos, York Regional Police said in a news release issued in July 2019.

But prosecutors stayed the charges against six of the accused in Jan. 2021 after defence lawyers raised concerns that investigators committed “significant breaches of solicitor/client privilege.” Three of the accused previously had their charges stayed in 2020.

“The expectation that every case is perfect is an unrealistic one,” Const. Nicolle added in a written statement. “We operate in an imperfect justice system. By their nature, these cases are complex and multifaceted. We always have, and always will, face challenges within the court system that may or may not be surmountable in any given case.”

Ryan is a reporter with CBC Toronto’s Enterprise unit. He has also worked for CBC in Vancouver, Yellowknife and Ottawa, filing for web, radio and TV. You can reach him by email at


Want direct access to the latest LITN content?

Stay in the loop ➞ Subscribe to LITN instant notifications.
Receive the latest content delivered directly to your device.
Unsubscribe at anytime.

Latest News


Join the LITN Newsletter ➞ the latest news delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.


Instagram Feed