Kelowna gangster Matthew Schrader and his girlfriend have been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking after police executed a search warrant on their home earlier this month.
Kelowna RCMP said Thursday that investigators searched Schrader’s luxury rental apartment in the 1300-block of Ellis Street Feb. 9 and found cocaine, heroin and 11 cell phones.
“Schrader has well-documented links to several different organized crime groups,” RCMP Const. Kris Clark said.
Clark said the RCMP has notified the Ministry of Children and Family Development about a 15-year-old boy who was living in the drug-filled apartment.
Schrader and Pratt have both been released by the Court on strict conditions and are scheduled to appear in Kelowna Provincial Court on April 15th, 2013.
Schrader, a former Abbotsford resident, is close to several B.C. men convicted in Washington state in a major cross-border pot and cocaine smuggling ring linked to the Hells Angels.
And Schrader is also associated to former Mountie Rob Sidhu, who appeared in a Seattle courtroom this week charged with being one of the leaders of the same drug ring.
Vancouver Police have arrested a 27-year old after a man was fatally assaulted in East Vancouver just after 10:30 am Saturday morning.
The suspect has not yet been charged.
Sgt. Randy Fincham issued a news release saying what had been initially described as a serious assault had become Vancouver’s second homicide of 2013.
Fincham said police were called to the scene after reports of a fight on Commercial Drive at Venables Street.
“When they got there, they found one man suffering from serious injuries. The man was rushed to hospital by paramedics where he has since died. The man’s name is not being released until the man’s family has been notified,” Fincham said.
He said the investigation is ongoing and detectives from the Vancouver Police Major Crime Section and the Forensic Identification Unit will be at the scene throughout the day.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vancouver Police Homicide Unit at (604) 717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has confirmed that a dead man found inside a car Wednesday night is Vimal Chand, 29.
Chand was reported missing my his family just days ago and Surrey RCMP released a plea for public information.
His body was discovered about 6:30 p.m., inside a car across from an elementary school. He may have been there for several days.
“Initial response and subsequent investigation by the Surrey RCMP determined that this case was likely a homicide and IHIT was called,” IHIT’s Cpl. Bari Emam said in a news release.
“I can confirm that the body of the young man located inside the car was that of 29 year old Vimal Chand of Surrey. This investigation is in the very early stages and the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Chand are yet to be determined,” Emam said.
A Vernon lawyer who admits that he illegally aided the violent Greeks gang took members of the criminal organization target shooting on at least two occasions, B.C. Supreme Court heard Tuesday.
Prosecutor David Jardine argued at a sentencing hearing for William Mastop that the lawyer’s actions enhanced the ability of the Greeks to commit more crimes by improving their “shooting accuracy” and gun handling skills.
Jardine, who wants the disgraced lawyer to serve up to three years in jail, said Mastop provided the ammunition for the Greeks when they visited a local gun range just outside of Vernon.
“The gang members would bring their own guns, which included a 45 calibre handgun, a 9 mm Glock handgun and a 22 revolver,” Jardine told Justice Mark McEwan. “He permitted the group to shoot his guns as well as their guns.”
Jardine said Mastop knew the Greeks to be members of a violent drug trafficking organization at the time.
“The Crown position is that this isn’t just a benign social outing,” Jardine said on the second day of the sentencing hearing at the Vancouver Law Courts.
Sheldon O’Donnell, one of Mastop’s shooting guests, was convicted of first-degree murder last November for shooting Ron Thom to death on May 31, 2005.
Four others associated to the Greeks, including leader Peter Manolakos, were also convicted in the slayings of Thom and two others in Vernon in 2004 and 2005.
Mastop entered a surprise guilty plea in December to illegally working to benefit a criminal organization.
Jardine also said that when a search warrant was executed Mastop’s home on May 11, 2007, police found a high-powered rifle that belonged to a member of the Greeks, whose identity is shielded by court order.
“Knowingly carrying and storing a rifle for [the Greeks member,] a drug trafficker, facilitates in the Crown’s submission the ability of a criminal organization to commit a criminal offence,” Jardine said.
He also cited an instance where Mastop passed along documents given to him by a Calgary Hells Angel he was representing to Manolakos.
And Mastop routinely attempted to get information from prosecutors and prison officials for the Greeks about associates who had been arrested.
In an intercepted call played Tuesday, Manolakos told Mastop to reassure Greeks associate Douglas Brownell, who had been arrested, that the gang would be there for him.
Jardine said Manolakos used Mastop to make sure Brownell wouldn’t cooperate with police.
Another Greeks member told Mastop that he planned to tell a suspected complainant against a gang associate that he better not show up in court.
Mastop’s lawyer David Crossin will make his submissions Wednesday.
Three Vancouver Island men who police say used violence in the local drug trade have been arrested by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Police seized guns and drugs during searches following the arrests, CFSEU media officer, Const. Lindsey Houghton said.
A 29-year-old Saanich man was picked up April 9 with the help of local police for possession of a firearm.
A search of his home in the 4000-block of Saanich Road resulted in the seizure of a 9mm handgun with the serial number filed off, ammunition, a magazine and marijuana.
“This man was known to associate with local drug dealers that have a history of violence in relation to the drug trade,” Houghton said.
In the second case, CFSEU arrested two men on April 10 – the first in Delta where police believe the 35-year-old was picking up cocaine. He was caught with four kilos.
“This man was working in association with the leader of the drug network by distributing cocaine on the island. Our investigators believe that he was regularly picking up cocaine from the Lower Mainland and bringing it back to Vancouver Island on behalf of this group,” Houghton said.
Another 35-year-old who Houghton described as the gang’s leader was arrested later April 10 in Greater Victoria.
“This guy is actively using violence, and we believe he has used extreme violence, to secure his drug network on Vancouver Island,” he said.
During searches of the residences—one in the 2000-block of Longspur Road and the other in the 90-block of Chilco Ridge Place – Investigators seized a .357 Magnum handgun, a pistol-grip shotgun, a small quantity of steroids and paraphernalia associated to trafficking in cocaine.
“CFSEU-BC works very closely with our Vancouver Island law enforcement partners to bring about successful investigations and to target violent criminals,” Houghton said.
Meanwhile the Abbotsford Police Drug Enforcement Unite executed a search warrant Tuesday at an apartment in the 2100 block of McKenzie Road.
Heroin, cash, and five replica hand guns were seized.
Police have recommended charges of Possession for the Purposes of Trafficking against a 29 year old man.
The identities of all four men arrested have not been released as they have not yet been charged.
The Abbotsford Police Department is reviewing dozens of search warrants that were obtained on bogus information from an officer now charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to traffic, Chief Bob Rich announced Tuesday.
Rich called Tuesday “a bad day” for his department as he laid out allegations against Const. Christopher Nicholson, an eight-year veteran of the force who is now suspended without pay.
Nicholson, 41, is facing 10 counts so far and more charges are expected. He was released on $5,000 bail Tuesday and is next due in Vancouver Provincial Court on June 18.
Rich said other two APD officers received information last July that Nicholson had “leaked information to a suspect so that person could avoid being arrested by our department.”
Rich asked Vancouver Police to investigate and an eight-month covert probe began that led to charges this week.
“We believe Christopher Nicholson lied about the information that he was obtaining from confidential informants and was lying to the judges. This impacts the whole justice system,” Rich said. “The investigators were able to document and corroborate the misinformation which has led to the charges of breach of trust and obstruction of justice.”
He said if the allegations are proven, Nicholson “put the lives and reputations of other police officer at risk.”
“The information that Christopher Nicholson has provided over the years has assisted in obtaining dozens of search warrants to residences of drug dealers and gang members,” Rich said.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said the investigation involved dozens of officers at its peak, including senior members with homicide and gang experience.
He said the false information provided by Nicholson to judges was used to get warrants for searches of private dwellings.
“He also allegedly conspired with a confidential informant to have drugs delivered to a residence and have other police officers conduct a search warrant soon after,” Chu said.
“Since we believe that Christopher Nicholson had knowledge of the drug transaction and was an active participant in the transaction, a charge of conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance has been laid.”
Other pending charges relate to “the falsifying of information provided to the justice system,” Chu said.
Chu said “corrupt conduct will never be tolerated in our ranks and will be investigated thoroughly.”
“I applaud the personal commitment of the Vancouver police officers assigned to this case. They were as troubled personally, as I was by the initial allegations,” he said.
“They pursued the investigation with vigor and a professional commitment to uncover as much evidence of wrongdoing and criminal conduct as possible.”
Rich said in addition to the criminal charges, Nicholson will face an expedited Police Act disciplinary process that he will oversee.
“I wish I could guarantee that something like this won’t ever happen in policing, that an officer would ever do what we allege has happened here. I can’t,” Rich said. “What Chief Chu and I can do is state, unequivocally, that, whenever we uncover this kind of conduct, we will do whatever it takes to root it out, and hold the person responsible for their actions.”
There have been other recent cases involving serious allegations against both municipal police officers and RCMP members in B.C.
In fact, ex-Mountie Derek Brassington, who was already facing breach of trust charges after his work on the Surrey Six murder case, has now been charged with theft under $5,000. His lawyer appeared for him in Vancouver Provincial Court on the new charge Tuesday.
Whether the allegations against Brassington impact two upcoming Surrey Six trials is yet to be seen.
Former VPD Const. Peter Hodson was sentenced in Sept. 2011 to three years in prison for breach of trust and trafficking marijuana.
He recruited an addict to traffic for him on the Downtown Eastside and even misused a police database to check up on the man.
Hodson was fired by the VPD. No evidence came out during his prosecution about his conduct impacting other cases.
Nicholson and his wife bought a new Abbotsford house on Caves Court on September 28, 2011 for $535,000. Both are listed on land title documents as “civil servants.”
Would-be pot growers looking to set up an underground bunker like the one police raided in Langley this week have several places to purchase used shipping containers.
At least five Lower Mainland companies sell large steel containers like the five that had been turned into an interconnected growing chamber with 430 marijuana plants inside.
And there were also several listed for sale in local Craigslist ads Wednesday ranging in price from less than $2,000 up to $5,000.
One Surrey vendor charging $3,750 for an insulated “high cube” container suggested right in his ad title that a prospective buyer could “Grow your own Reefer!”
Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said officers involved in searching the property in the 27,000-block of 56 Avenue had never seen underground containers used as grow operations before.
And he said the condition of the structures, which were under about two feet of dirt, was so poor that the sides and the roof could have caved on the people and equipment inside.
“When they came out of the ground and you looked at them — they had been under there for a while, a few years — they are pretty rusted. It is even possible at some point that the roofs could have collapsed or the sides could have collapsed and the earth would have fallen in on the grow or the people working as the gardeners,” Houghton said.
No one has yet been charged, but police said they believe the sophisticated operation is linked to the Hells Angels.
Aaron Kirkland, president of The Great Container Company in Port Coquitlam, said he’s not surprised that pot growers are using shipping containers.
But he said most people who want the versatile containers use them for farm storage or on construction sites.
He has, however, dealt with some who hold medical marijuana licences who wanted to use shipping containers as secure grow operations.
“You know who the nefarious ones are because they are paying cash and they really have no interest in a receipt,” he said.
Burying them underground is risky, he said, because their roofs are not constructed to hold tonnes of dirt.
“They are not designed for that at all. The roof doesn’t have any strength to it. It is all on the four corner posts,” Kirkland said.
An un-insulated 40-foot container sells for about $3,000, Kirkland said.
He estimates that the five main companies in the region — including his — sell between 50 and 80 containers a week.
They buy them from shipping lines who are replacing their stock.
“It comes down to the fact that every five years, they have to be recertified. So before the 10th year, they sell them off when they are still in decent condition,” Kirkland said.
Tommy Dunn, accounts manager at Cratex Containers, said it is very easy to purchase used containers in B.C.
Cratex not only sells them, but also delivers and installs them if a customer wants that service, Dunn said.
“We have dropped them in the ground, up the side of mountains. There have been some interesting drops for sure,” he said.
Dunn said he is aware that some with medical marijuana licences are using the containers for grow ops.
“We try not to ask too many questions,” he said. “Does the guy at the hydroponic store ask you if you are growing tomatoes or pot when he is selling you the lights?”
That means comments will not appear on the blog until I have it back up and running in two weeks time. You may see a reference to your comment being “held for moderation,” but there is no one to moderate but me, so it will take some time before it’s up there.
I will be out of the country and unavailable by phone. I may have some email access if anyone really needs to reach me – email@example.com
If anyone wants to reach another reporter, call the Vancouver Sun city desk at 604-605-2445 or scroll through the contact numbers at www.vancouversun.com
I make my annual summer pilgrimage with family to beautiful Hornby Island.
So the blog is now closed to comments for two weeks as there is no one to review them. If you do post something, it will be not appear on the blog until after I’m back. So take a break and don’t bother commenting for now.
I will have some email access if someone really needs to reach me – firstname.lastname@example.org
September should be an interesting month with some big trials due to start. The biggest is that of Surrey Six accused Matthew Johnston, Cody Haevischer and Michael Le, set to begin Sept. 16.
And the Mounties charged in the related case, Derek Brassington (who quit the force,) Cpl. Danny Michaud, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Staff Sgt. Dave Attew are also set to go to trial in the fall with voir dire beginning in September.
They were charged in 2011 after an Ontario Provincial Police investigation into allegations that Brassington had an affair with a possible witness in the Surrey Six case.
Brassington is facing seven charges, including obstruction of justice, breach of trust, fraud and compromising the safety of a witness. Attew, his supervisor during the Surrey Six investigation, faces six counts, including breach of trust, fraud and obstruction of justice.
Johnston and Michaud have been charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and misleading the OPP investigators.
A young man critically wounded in a Surrey shooting Friday afternoon is the stepson of murdered gangster Sandip Duhre, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
The young Surrey man and his friend were wounded during a shoot-out between two vehicles in the 5800-block of 126th Street at around 2:45 p.m., Surrey RCMP Sgt. Drew Grainger said.
The Duhre relative was struck in the chest and had a punctured lung.
“He is critical, but expected to survive this injury,” Grainger said. The other man had “a grazing injury.”
While Grainger was not releasing the identity of the victims – who are 21 and 19 – The Sun confirmed through sources the link to Duhre, the notorious gangster shot to death in the lobby of the Sheraton Wall Centre in January 2012.
Rival gangster Rabih (Robby) Alkhalil has been charged in the Duhre murder and remains in custody in Greece where he was arrested earlier this year.
Alkhalil is expected to be extradited to Ontario, where he faces another first-degree murder charge. He is also charged in Quebec in a massive cocaine conspiracy in which B.C Hells Angel Larry Amero is a co-accused.
Grainger said Friday’s victims were in one of two vehicles shooting at each other – a gold-coloured sedan like a Toyota Corolla and a dark-coloured Infinity sports car.
“It looks like they were involved in the shooting and made their way to hospital in another vehicle,” Grainger said.
Police determined the third vehicle was a dark-coloured mini-van.
Grainger said the shooting took place in a busy neighbourhood where passers-by could easily have gotten caught I the cross-fire.
“This was a brazen and despicable act,” he said. “That is a residential neighbourhood with families and kids going about their business before a long weekend.”
Police are looking to find the vehicles and suspects involved in the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-222-tips.
Some fear the shooting is a sign that a violent gang conflict is continuing between the remnants of the Duhre-Dhak group and the Wolf-Pack alliance of Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers and some Hells Angels.
The gang war has left more than a dozen gangsters dead, including Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon, Duhre, Sukh Dhak and others.
Just last month, Bacon associate Brian (Shrek) Dhaliwal showed up at an Abbotsford hospital suffering a gunshot wound. He claimed to police that he had been wounded while driving somewhere in between 264nd Street and Mount Lehman Road in Abbotsford, but said he didn’t know the exact location.
And in June, Harpreet Chahal, an associate of one of the men charged in the Bacon murder, was shot to death in Abbotsford in another targeted attack.