Saskatoon police help bust car theft ring involving hundreds of vehicles
Saskatoon police played a key role in an auto theft investigation involving hundreds of vehicles worth millions of dollars.
The nearly two-year-long investigation, dubbed Project MYRA, was led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), with the Saskatoon Police Service being among the police departments participating in the investigation.
Although most of the vehicles were stolen in Ontario, according to the OPP, the alleged scheme had a significant connection to Saskatchewan.
An anonymous criminal organization based in Toronto and Ontario’s Durham Region fraudulently registered stolen vehicles in Saskatchewan before transferring the registration to Ontario and reselling the vehicles, police say.
Police say they have uncovered a car theft ring where the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) of stolen vehicles have been altered so they can be resold to private individuals.
Two Saskatoon men are among 28 people charged in connection with Project MYRA.
Blue Pelletier, 44, and Christopher Montague-Mitchell, 31, face nine charges each.
They are notably accused of using false documents, trafficking in property obtained by crime and participating in the activities of a criminal organization.
During a joint virtual press conference Thursday morning, SPS Detective Superintendent Patrick Nogier said the service was “extremely proud” to be part of Project MYRA.
“As one of the prairie provinces, we routinely move criminal activity from western to eastern Canada and we know we play an important role in trying to help our partners in law enforcement trying to fight crime organizations,” Nogier said.
In total, police recovered 214 vehicles worth more than $12 million through the investigation, according to the OPP.
Honda and Acura account for 37% of recovered vehicles, the Ontario Provincial Police said. Most of the vehicles recovered were high-end, police said.
Six firearms, 230 grams of suspected fentanyl, 1,840 grams of suspected cocaine and 77 kilograms of cannabis were also seized in the investigation, according to the OPP, along with $160,000 in cash and $8,400 additional US dollars.