Authorities have issued hundreds of charges related to an investigation into escalating violence between rival tow truck operations in the Toronto area.

On May 26, Canadian authorities announced that they arrested 19 people as part of a multiple agency investigation called “Project Platinum” into organized crime within the tow industry in the Greater Toronto area.

Among the hundreds of charges issued as a result of Project Platinum were first-degree homicide charges connected to the shooting death of tow truck driver Soheil Rafipour in 2018.

Police say that four drivers have been killed and over 30 tow trucks have been burned in connection with the turf war in the past three years.

“We allege that the competition for control of the tow market has resulted in murders, attempted murders, shootings, assaults, arsons, threats and property damage,” said York Regional Police Supt. Mike Slack.

Slack says that lack of regulation within the tow industry in the Toronto area opened the door for organized crime.

“The investigation revealed that Paramount Towing, which is owned and operated by Alexander Vinogradsky, along with other rival towing groups, have been involved in defrauding insurance companies with vehicles involved in collisions and staged collisions. The tow companies partnered with auto repair shops, as well as car and truck rental companies, to carry out their frauds. Insurance companies worked to mitigate the fraud and additional costs to the consumer and actively pursued legal action against various tow companies. One law firm, Carr Law, which had been located in the City of Vaughan and was hired by the insurance companies, became the target of violence, threats and extortion,” York Regional police said.

Authorities listed the following items seized as part of Project Platinum:

  • 11 tow trucks
  • Firearms: 16 handguns, 13 shotguns, nine rifles, one machine gun, one air pistol converted to .22 calibre pistol, one sawed-off shotgun and three high-capacity drum magazines
  • Ammunition: Thousands of rounds of various calibres
  • Weapons: Two conductive energy weapons, brass knuckles
  • Drugs: Five kilograms of fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 1.25 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 1.5 kilograms of cannabis
  • Currency: More than $500,000

York Police say that the investigation is ongoing and that anyone with information related to Project Platinum should call York Regional Police Organized Crime and Intelligence Services at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7818.

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