Updated — Seven people in Montreal and Laval were arrested Thursday morning and more arrests are expected, linked to what provincial and local police allege has been a major theft ring for used cooking oil.
The Surete du Quebec’s Montreal division and the Service de police de Laval said Thursday the seven are alleged to have formed a network “specializing” in taking spent vegetable oil from storage tanks behind foodservice businesses.
The waste oil was destined for biodiesel processing, the police services said in a release.
Restaurants and foodservice businesses typically contract with processors and recyclers to collect their spent oil, providing a revenue stream from what would otherwise be a waste product.
But thanks to its rising value as biofuel feedstock, the used oil is increasingly targeted for theft, according to the National Renderers Association in the U.S.
Searches related to the seven Quebec arrests led officers to seize and impound five trucks equipped with pumps and transfer tanks, police said.
The disappearing veg oil has been the subject of an investigation since May, the police services said, noting their probe is expected to lead to further arrests.
The seven already arrested have been released on promises to appear in court in Laval and Montreal, where they’ll face charges of theft and conspiracy, police said.
UPDATE, Oct. 9, 2018 – A Surete du Quebec spokesperson has confirmed charges against two individuals, named in a previous version of this article, were withdrawn. — AGCanada.com Network