Major auto theft, drug bust takes down criminal network in Oakville, Toronto

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Published June 18, 2024 at 3:41 pm

Ontario, Oakville, Toronto, police, cocaine, auto thefts, LSD, charges, firearms
A police investigation in Oakville and Toronto has led to the seizure of numerous stolen vehicles, drugs and firearms. Three men from Oakville and a man from Caledon have been charged. HRPS VIDEO SCREENSHOT

A four-month long investigation into a series of auto thefts and break and enters headed by the Halton Regional Police has led to the arrest of three men from Oakville and one from Caledon.

Dubbed Project Bayou, the investigation uncovered an “organized crew of thieves” who through break and enters and technology-based auto theft stole high-end vehicles in residential areas.

The stolen vehicles would then have their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) changed and would be sold for a significant profit.

It was also discovered the individuals were involved in large-scale drug trafficking.

With the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Peel Regional Police Service and Toronto Police Service multiple search warrants were executed on March 13 and April 24 in Oakville, and Toronto targeting residences, storage lockers and connected vehicles.

As a result, police found and seized the following items:

  • 8 kg of cocaine – with six intact 1 kg bricks
  • 37 pounds of cannabis
  • A significant amount of cannabis edibles and cannabis vapes
  • 36 mason jars containing liquid cannabis resin
  • 772 Oxycodone pills
  • 1,229 LSD tabs
  • 1,248 grams of codeine
  • 7 grams of hash
  • 142 clonazepam pills
  • $1,123, 217 in Canadian currency
  • Money counters, sales, packaging, and other indicia of drug trafficking
  • Three stolen vehicles (BMW M4, Grand Cherokee, BMW X7)
  • Stolen motorcycle and box trailer
  • Stolen license plates from numerous high-end vehicle thefts
  • Reprogramming technology, fraudulent VIN plates and 128 key fobs
  • A semi-automatic .22 rifle with 159 rounds of ammunition and 12-gauge shotgun with 33 rounds of ammunition
  • A loaded Glock 43X 9 mm handgun with 46 rounds of ammunition

In the weeks following the search warrants, 23 vehicles with their VIN numbers changed were seized by police.

“We are all keenly aware of the rise of auto theft occurrences in our region and the surrounding GTA,” said HRPS Superintendent Dave Costantini. “These vehicles are not only stolen for profit, but they are also used in the commission of other serious violent crimes such as armed robberies, home invasions, shootings, and homicides. We are also aware that organized crime is behind the trafficking of illicit substances and has a direct correlation to the rise in drug poisonings resulting in fatalities.

“We are committed to continue collaborating with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle organized crime groups. Through Project Bayou, we’ve dealt a critical blow to organized crime in Halton, significantly disrupting not only drug trafficking but also an extensive ring of vehicle thefts. The safety and security of all will always be our priority, as will holding accountable those who mistakenly believe that they are above the law.”

Vincent Tassone, 24, of Oakville has been charged with:

  • Two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (Cocaine)
  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm
  • Knowledge of unauthorized possession of a firearm
  • Carless use of a storage of a firearm
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose
  • Possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition
  • Breach of firearms regulation
  • Possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution
  • Possession of automobile master key
  • Possession of break-in instruments
  • Two counts of trafficking in property obtained by crime
  • Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000
  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle

Tassone was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Simon Cianciolo, 23, of Oakville was charged with:

  • Possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (clonazepam)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (oxycodone)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (LSD)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (psilocybin)
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 (currency)
  • Possession of counterfeit mark
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000

Cianciolo was held in custody pending a bail hearing

Shon Wickes, 24, of Caledon was charged with:

  • Possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (clonazepam)
  • Possession of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking (oxycodone)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (LSD)
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking (psilocybin)
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 (currency)
  • Possession of counterfeit mark

Wickes was held ion custody pending a bail hearing.

Omar Darkhabani, 29, of Oakville was charged with:

  • Possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution
  • Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000

Darkhabani was released with a promise to return for a future court date.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact police at 905-825-4777, ext. 2216.

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca

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