It was just another business day in mid-December when staff at Fines Ford Lincoln in Bolton, Ont., began a routine bumper-to bumper inspection on a Mexico-built Fusion that had been delivered overnight.
Dealership principal Robert Fines said an employee conducting the inspection noted that the trunk floor mat in one of the vehicles did not fit properly.
Further inspection found that the spare tire beneath it “didn’t come close” to matching specification for a Fusion “and was not the proper spare tire at all,” Fines told Automotive News Canada.
The technician also noticed that the non-spec tire felt heavier than it should have, Fines said. He broke it down to discover the meth hidden inside.
“At that point we were done,” Fines said, and police were called.
A similar scene played out at three other Ontario Ford dealerships in Chelmsford, Collingwood and Newmarket, all of which reported their findings to the OPP, Henderson said.
Using shipping manifests provided by Ford, three more dealerships in Quebec (at Thetford Mines, Lévis and Quebec City) and one in Woodstock, N.B., were found to have received Fusions containing meth-laden spare tires. In Woodstock, one Fusion was found with 15 pounds of meth packed into a non-spec spare tire.
“We believe that in this case, a vehicle manufacturer and a rail company were exploited by a well-established crime group,” Henderson said.
Ford Motor Co. of Canada declined to make an official available to discuss the matter but did issue a brief statement saying it was “working closely with a number of law enforcement agencies.”
An official with the Canada Border Security Agency acknowledged the ongoing investigation but would not discuss details.
The OPP-led investigation continued as this issue went to press. Henderson did not elaborate further other than to say that “some persons of interest have been identified.” No charges have yet been laid and no more drugs have been found.