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Charges in Toronto police's largest international drug bust 'in history of the service' stayed

Charges against 22 people, during what was the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) largest international drug bust, have been stayed.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) confirmed to CTV News Toronto that, as of Monday, the charges in relation to the joint investigation “Project Brisa,” have been stayed.

“No reasons for the stay were provided to the Court in this case,” the PPSC said in a statement.

In June 2021, Toronto police held a news conference showing off the drugs, money and vehicles they had seized as part of the investigation, which started in November 2020.

“The results of this investigation are unprecedented and include the seizure of over 1,000 kilograms of illicit drugs,” then TPS police chief James Ramer said at the news conference.

The TPS displayed the tractor-trailers that were allegedly used to smuggle cocaine from Mexico to Vancouver, then on to the Toronto market. The tractor-trailers were found to have secret compartments that were X-ray proof to allude border searches.

In June 2021, police said they seized 444 kilograms of cocaine, 157 kilograms of crystal meth, 427 kilograms of marijuana, and 300 oxycodone pills, and nearly $1 million in cash. Twenty-two people were arrested as a result of the investigation, and were facing a combined total of 182 criminal charges.

"Drugs seized and potential harm caused has never been seen before in the history of service," said Ramer.

On Monday, in a Toronto court, the Crown’s case fell apart, and all the charges were stayed.

One of the defence lawyers, Greg Lafontaine, told CTV News Toronto all the accused were free to go.

“Everybody is completely at their liberty, at this point their bails have concluded some very stiff bails,” Lafontaine said.

He said the Crown’s case began to unravel as the multitude of defence lawyers began questioning police investigative tactics.

“They couldn’t do it in a timely fashion. At the same time, they were concerned about the evidence [that] was coming out was tending to bring various police techniques and sources of information into play potentially,” Lafontaine said.

When asked for comment, TPS declined to make a statement. 

With files from CP24's Chris Herhalt Top Stories

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