A ‘disturbing trend’: Toronto man charged in GTA extortion investigation

A ‘disturbing trend’: Toronto man charged in GTA extortion investigation

A 30-year-old man is facing 17 charges in connection with an ongoing extortion investigation in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Peel Regional Police (PRP) say they have investigated a number of related incidents that occurred throughout the GTA since December 2023, which included mischief to property, threats, and firearm-related offences.

On May 29, PRP’s 25-member Extortion Investigative Task Force (EITF) executed a search warrant at a home in Toronto and arrested Jaskaran Singh.

He is facing one count each of careless storage of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, knowledge of unauthorized possession of a firearm, occupant of a motor vehicle knowing there was a firearm, possession of a loaded prohibited/restricted firearm without licence, and mischief over $5,000. The accused has also been charged with two counts each of extortion, unauthorized possession of a prohibited device, knowledge of unauthorized possession of weapon, and occupant of a motor vehicle knowing there was a prohibited device as well as three counts of disobey court order.

Singh was held for a bail hearing and attended court in Brampton. He has since been granted bail and is currently on a court order with conditions.

“We understand the impact these incidents have caused the victims and their families and see how deeply these incidents are being felt throughout our community. We took immediate steps in mobilizing the Extortion Investigative Task Force,” PRP Chief Nishan Duraiappah said in a release.

“With the help of our community, we have made arrests and will continue to hold accountable those responsible. We believe that there could be more residents and businesses who may have been contacted.”

Duraiappah, who called the recent extortion attempts in the region a “disturbing trend,” urged any business owners and/or community members who may have been victimized to come forward and speak with the EITF, which he said has investigated more than 50 extortion-related cases over the last seven months. In a video psot on socail meia, Duraiappah said that South Asian businesses are being primarily targetted.

He said that to date the task force has made 13 arrests and laid 83 criminal charges, including extortion, conspiracy, arson, firearms possession, and breaching court orders.

Investigators have also seized several forearms and ammunition, 11 kgs of crystal methamphetamine, six stolen vehicles valued at $250,000, and $10,000 in currency related to the proceeds of crime.

This investigation is supported by the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, which is funded by the provincial government.

“Here at Peel (Regional Police), we take these incidents very seriously and we’ll stop at nothing to arrest those who are terrorizing members of our community,” said Duraiappah. 

Anyone with information or anyone who is a victim of an extortion-related offence is asked to contact PRP’s EITF hotline at 1-866-966-0616 or taskforce@peelpolice.ca, or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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