White Rock Hells Angel Caught with a Kilo of Cocaine – UPDATE

Abbotsford Police excuted a search warrant Wednesday at the Langley home of a full-patch Hells Angel Brent Milne from the White Rock chapter.
Inside, they found almost a kilo of cocaine (34 ounces) and $26,000 cash.
The 50-year-old, who has no criminal record, is expected to be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the man’s name surfaced in connection with drug sales in Abbotsford. So investigators dug more information and were able to get the search warrant.
Here’s my story:
 

Angus Mitchell’s Troubed History Raises Questions His Gun Permit

Angus Mitchell is now notorious for murdering two people May 27 and shooting another person two days later before he died in a police shoot-out.
Insp. Kevin Hackett, head of the Integrated Homicide Investigtion Team, said earlier this week that police may never find a motive for his murderous rampage.
But there were many warning signs that he suffered from mental illness and had outbursts of aggression against others for months if not years before he got a gun licence and the legally-registered hunting rifle he used to target his victims.
Myself and colleague Lori Culbert spent a few days this week trying to dig into Mitchell’s past to learn where things went wrong. We learned that there were several reports to police made about his behaviour th0ugh  charges were never laid against him.
And we learned that he attacked a young mother in East Vancouver last August, though wasn’t identified even after his photo (above) was released through Crimestoppers in October. An alert reader tipped us and we asked VPD about the incident Friday. They agreed that it appears to be Mitchell who police were searching for.
Here’s our story:
Former Solicitor General Kash Heed said this case cries out for a Coroner’s inquest so that there is a thorough review of how not only the police-involved shooting of Mitchell but the events leading up to his killing spree.
 

RCMP Dismantle North Delta Meth Lab

The RCMP’s Federal Synthetic Drug Team cleared out a clandestine lab in a Delta residence Friday afternoon.
Sgt. Duncan Pound said two men and a woman inside the home were taken by surprise when police arrived with a search warrant.
He said the lab was capable of producing half a kilogram of methamphetamine every week.
Charges are expected in the case, but have not yet been laid as the investigation continues.
“Clandestine drug labs pose significant risks to public safety here in British Columbia on several different levels,” Supt Brian Cantera said in a news release.
“The finished product is never consistent and contains a variety of dangerous toxins, and the labs themselves can explode or catch fire with little warning which threatens families and neighborhoods nearby.”
The clandestine lab team and partners from the Delta Police, Delta Fire Department, BC Ambulance and Health Canada are working together to dismantle and analyze the hazardous materials inside the residence near 118th Street and 73A Avenue by Saturday evening.
About 500 grams of finished product were also found, along with liquid precursor chemicals used in production.

Grenade Launcher Found in Nanaimo Hotel Room

Three people have been arrested in Nanaimo after police found a grenade launcher in a motel room.
The South Island Emergency Response Team entered room in the Harborside Motel on Terminal Avenue after receiving information that firearms might be inside.
No guns were located, but officers did locate the launcher, which “can be easily attached to the barrel of many rifles and can launch grenades a considerable distance,” Const. Gary O’Brien said.
He said police are looking at where the launcher was obtained.
A 29-year-old woman, who was inside the room when police entered about 10 a.m. Wednesday, was taken into custody.

A 28-year-old man associated to the room was arrested nearby, along with a 32-year-old woman.
“The investigation is continuing and no charges have been laid to date,” O’Brien said.
“Investigators and forensics are examining the launcher to determine if it is stolen or associated to any other police occurrences. Anyone with information on its origin is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.”

Rob Sidhu Arrested in Montreal on U.S. Cocaine Charges

I am not quite back at work (but will be Monday!), but did a story in today’s paper about Rapinder “Rob” Sidhu getting arrested recently in Montreal on the U.S. charges he is facing. Sidhu will be in a Montreal courtroom Friday to fix a date for his extradition hearing. No doubt he will fight attempts to prosecute him in the U.S. Many of the others charged on the same indictment have all had their day in a Seattle court, starting with Rob Shannon’s conviction back in 2009. Shannon is now four years into a 20-year sentence he was handed for being in charge of the “transportation” end of this major drug smuggling operation.
Sidhu is still before Surrey Provincial Court on his charge of impersonating a police officer back in 2007 in order to get the address of the Bacon brothers. That case has been adjourned several times – mostly at the request of the defence – but is due to continue on Nov. 13, 2012.
Here’s my Sidhu story:
 I am opening the blog today, so I can get back in the swing of things for Monday. I appreciate your patience during my time off. 
There have been some changes with the Sun’s online services since I took my leave. Readers will now only get access to breaking news for free. Then they can view 15 stories a month for free. If you want access to more stories, you have to subscribe to the online paper. You will STILL be able to read my blog for free and I will still post as much information as I can for readers.  But if you click through to the actual story I have written, that will count as one of your 15 free stories.
Here’s a note from the editor about the changes:

With increasing economic pressure on media and the rising cost of gathering information, non-print subscribers who want unlimited access to The Vancouver Sun content online will now pay a nominal fee.
A growing number of major newspapers around the world, including the New York Times and London’s Times and Guardian, have adopted pay models for digital content. Today, The Sun follows suit.
This new “metered” system will help generate revenue to invest in the insightful, award-winning print and digital journalism expected from the biggest and best news team in Western Canada. We remain committed to investigative reporting and working to ensure transparency from governments and public agencies.
All our print subscribers will receive free, unlimited access to vancouversun.com and The Vancouver Sun’s mobile apps, included with delivery of their daily newspaper. Once registered, our customers can enjoy all digital content from any computer or mobile device, and join online conversations with journalists and other readers on a range of topics.
For readers who want a digital-only subscription, we are pleased to offer an introductory rate of just 99 cents for the first month. This provides unlimited access to vancouversun.com and Vancouver Sun apps from any smartphone or tablet. You, our readers, will continue to receive all the news, analysis, features, videos, photo galleries and other content from your favourite Sun journalists, as well as from other local, national and international sources.
Non-subscribers can still read our breaking news online, as well as up to 15 free articles every 30 days. An automatic message will appear on your screen when you have five free articles remaining, inviting you to subscribe. For more information about the digital access system, go to vancouversun.com/subscribe.
It is my hope vancouversun.com will continue to be a meeting place for readers to exchange ideas and participate in conversations aimed at making our community a better place.
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Vancouver Sun with more people reading us than ever before — thanks to our digital platforms.
About 1.7 million unique visitors read our website each month. Others access us on smartphones and tablets and, across all platforms, we generated more than 43 million page views in July alone.
We trust you will want to be a part of this, and continue to recognize the value provided in the breadth of in-depth journalism, local news and features found only in the pages of The Sun.
 Harold Munro
Editor in Chief
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/note+readers+charge+unlimited+access+online+content/7118913/story.html#ixzz26NLNeZZ0

B.C. Mayors Vote to Support Pot Decriminalization

B.C. municipal leaders voted Wednesday for a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of marijuana.
The mayors and councillors at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting had been debating the topic since the conference opened earlier this week.
Experts supporting the resolution said decriminalizing pot would take a key commodity away from gangs and reduce gang violence.
But police and other academics countered that given the value of B.C. bud south of the border, the illicit drug trade will continue to thrive in B.C. regardless of decriminalization.
The resolution urges the appropriate level of government, aka the federal Conservatives, to decriminalize pot. Given the feds public statements against decriminalization, it’s not likely to happen any time soon.
Here’s my colleague’s story:

Red Scorpion killer loses appeal of two of his convictions

Philbert Truong (pictured above) was a 20-year old UVic student when he was gunned down outside a Victoria nightclub in 2008.
His teenaged killer worked in the drug trade, called himself a Red Scorpion and took orders from Somphavanh Chanthabouala when he shot three people over a dispute in the club.
Mark Arrieta was convicted of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He appealed the attempted murder convictions on the grounds that his lawyer didn’t raise the fact Arrieta, then 16, had poor eyesight and may not have intended to shoot all of his victims.
On Thursday, his appeal was dismissed.
Here’s my story:
Read the full ruling here:
Here’s another recent ruling about Somphavanh Chanthabouala:

Man linked to the Red Scorpions gang loses attempted murder appeal

A young Victoria man linked to the Red Scorpions gang has lost an appeal of two attempted murder convictions on the grounds that his lawyer didn’t raise his poor eyesight at trial.
Mark Anthony Arrieta, who was just 16 when he shot three people outside a Victoria nightclub in July 2008, was convicted of the second-degree murder of Phil Truong and the attempted murders of Thuan Le and Robin Lepard.
He was raised to adult court when he was sentenced to life in prison.
But Arrieta filed an appeal for the two attempted murder convictions arguing his lawyer was incompetent because he had been told of the teen’s bad vision and should have raised it during the trial.
“He says there can be no doubt the evidence could have affected the judge’s finding that he intended to kill Le and Lepard,” Justice Peter Lowry said in the appeal court ruling, released Thursday.
But Lowry dismissed the appeal, saying there was no indication the original verdict would have been different if the poor eyesight had been raised in court.
“I am unable to accept the appellant’s contention the convictions for attempted murder could have been different. The state of his vision cannot be said to have had anything to do with the clear manifestation of his intention.” Lowry said.
“His vision was not so impaired that without glasses he could not function. He pointed and fired a loaded handgun at the chests of three men in turn in what the judge found on the testimony of the witnesses was methodical and deliberate. It could not be suggested that, because of his eyesight, he did not appreciate that is what he was doing three times over in rapid succession. He must, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to have intended the natural consequences of his actions.”
Lowry noted that both victims who survived were shot in “the centre of a person’s vital organs.”
“The natural consequence of firing a gun into the chest of a person standing a few feet away is that the person will die,” he said.
Appeal Court Justices Edward Chiasson and Nicole Garson agreed.
Arrieta opened fire on Truong and his group outside the Red Jacket nightclub when his gang boss at the time, Somphavanh Chanthabouala, ordered the hit over an argument that had broken out inside the club.
Chanthabouala was also convicted and sentenced to life with no eligibility of parole for 14 years.
At the time of the shooting, the Red Scorpions were expanding to Vancouver Island from the Lower Mainland, where the gang was founded in 2005.

Accused Surrey Six cops still have no defence funding

A trial date for four Mounties charged after their work on the Surrey Six case is in jeopardy because the RCMP has not made a decision on whether to pay for their lawyers, a B.C. Supreme Court judge said Monday.
Justice Arne Silverman asked that his “regards” be passed on to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, “with the suggestion that a decision would help us to move this process along.”
“Of course, I am not trying to convey what the decision should be — merely that a decision would help,” Silverman said during a pre-trial conference in the Vancouver Law Courts.
“The trial date is already in jeopardy.”
Lawyers for all four RCMP officers, Sgt. Derek Brassington, Cpl. Danny Michaud, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Staff Sgt. Dave Attew, have formally withdrawn from the case since there is no defence funding agreement.
But all four have continued to appear in court to assist the officers and the legal process in the interim.
Lawyer Michael Bolton, who appeared for Johnston Monday, said the matter is currently sitting on the desk of Paulson in Ottawa awaiting a decision.
He said all four officers, who are facing a series of charges after Brassington allegedly had an affair with a potential witness, were originally told their legal expenses would be covered by the force.
But the situation changed last June, when they were told they wouldn’t get any additional funding for the case, which is expected to take months when it goes to trial next fall.
Justice Silverman was first told of the funding problem last month when lawyers David Crossin and Greg DelBigio, representing Brassington and Michaud, withdrew as counsel.
“There hasn’t been any improvement in the circumstances since we were last before you,” Bolton said Monday, also seeking leave to withdraw.
Bolton said Johnston applied for legal aid, but was told he wouldn’t qualify.
He said his client can’t make a special request to the court for funding, known as a Rowbotham application, because the RCMP has not said definitively that it won’t pay.
“It is a bit in limbo,” Bolton said.
Lawyer Michael Klein, representing Attew, also told Silverman he was withdrawing.
“We have just been met with a wall of silence. So it has been difficult,” Klein said.
All four Mounties remain suspended with pay.
No one from the RCMP responded to requests for information about the funding decision.
The jury trial, expected to last eight weeks, is set to start Sept. 16, 2013.
Pretrial matters will continue Jan. 16, 2013.
The four officers were charged last year after an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police.
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 who were looking into the allegations against Brassington.
 

Family of man killed by VPD officer looking for answers

 I talked to Christopher Ray’s only daughter this week about the terrible news he had been killed in a police shooting in Vancouver. Understandably upset, Blair Gardner wanted to talk about the man she knew – a generous, kind and caring animal lover.
The Independent Investigations Office was in touch with Gardner in Walla Walla late Thursday after I emailed the IIO to let them know that his daughter was frustrated that no one had called her directly, though she had heard the news from relatives.
Vancouver Police say Ray was wielding a knife when they arrived in response to a 911 call about a man breaking windows.
His family says they don’t know him as a violent man, but said he had struggled for years with addiciton.
Here’s my full story:
Read m

Family of man killed by Vancouver police stunned by news

 

Blair Gardner wants to remember her dad Christopher Lewis Ray as a compassionate caring man who always took in a stray animal.
And the 19-year-old Washington state resident finds it hard to believe that her father was wielding a knife when he was fatally shot by a Vancouver Police officer Monday night.
The death is now being investigated by the Independent Investigations Office.
Gardner said she got word of the tragedy 24 hours later when a chaplain from Vancouver phoned her aunt in Washington.
“No police have called us or anything,” Gardner said. “We need some truth out there. There is no truth about what’s happening. Everybody is slandering him and they don’t even know who he is.”
Ray, 52, struggled for years with drug addiction, she said. But he worked hard fixing cars or even cutting lawns so he could send money to Gardner, her mom and her older brother Frederick in Walla Walla.
“He had problems that he was trying to get over. He had a drug problem that he was trying to conquer,” Gardner said. “He had been clean for many years on and off. My mom received an email from him on Oct. 23 — just last week. He was trying to be clean … He had informed my mom that he was in an acupuncture treatment to stay clean and kick the habit.”
Vancouver Police said they were called to the 400-block of Skeena Street about someone smashing windows. The first officer on scene was confronted by a man with a knife who was subsequently shot, VPD spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham said.
Gardner said she doesn’t understand how anyone could have seen her dad, who was short in stature, as a physical threat.
“This makes me feel horrible. I don’t believe that a 5-foot 7-inch man couldn’t have been taken down by a police officer. He had arthritis in his hands. He could not open his hands. He was not a threat to anybody,” she said.
“If he had this knife as they claim, I don’t think he would have been able to use it because of the severity of his arthritis and because of the pain he was in every day of his life.”
She said her dad was living in a church-run group home.
“There is no history of violence. He was a caring man. He did everything he could for his family,” she said. “He loved animals. He was always taking in strays he found. He always had a dog with him.”
Ray served in the U.S. army, but ended up being deported to Canada when Gardner was very young. They kept in touch by email and phone, but hoped to reunite in B.C. in 2013 because he wanted to meet his still unborn grandchild.
“He was very excited to meet his first grandchild,” said Gardner, who is 32 weeks pregnant.
She said she is hoping to be in touch with the IIO investigators.
“I am hoping they contact me. I am his child and we need some kind of answers. We want to see a copy of the investigation,” she said. “We want to be involved in everything.”

B.C. helicopter smuggler gets 10 years in U.S. jail

Henry Rosenau will be well into his golden years when he is released from a U.S. jail.
The 61-year-old was sentenced in Seattle Thursday to 10 years in prison for years of cross-border pot and people smuggling.
Rosenau, of Armstrong, was “such a skillful pilot that he flew with weighted contraband in the cockpit, strapped to skids, hanging by short lines, and swinging by long lines,” a sentencing memo by the U.S. Attorney says.
” He flew before dawn, without lights and using night vision goggles. He landed in wooded areas or on rough and inadequate sites, and he skillfully landed his helicopters, sometimes bringing an aircraft within a couple of yards of a waiting vehicle. He flew under the radar, through narrow valleys, and over mountains and wilderness.
“In addition to smuggling drugs, Defendant Rosenau surreptitiously flew drug traffickers, such as Zachary Miraback and Dustin Haugen, into the United States because they were felons and could not legally enter the country.”
He also taxied some of the drug traffickers back home to B.C.  “simply because it was a more expedient method than having them stop at a Port of Entry,” the court documents say.
Rosenau worked for a variety of criminal groups, including the United Nations gang.
“He occupied an important position within that world as a top-notch pilot who could issue orders to those below him,” the sentencing memo said. ” The defendant made a good income from his crimes, as evidenced by his large home on an expensive and expansive view lot, his purchase of additional river-front acreage, and his several aircraft.”
Rosenau told the judge back in July that he had decided to plead guilty after fighting the charges for years because:  “I feel that by telling the truth, that by being a Canadian, I will probably get a treaty transfer and I’ll probably not have to do a whole bunch of time.”
Here’s my full story:
Read US Attorney’s sentencing memo:

B.C. helicopter pilot gets 10 years in U.S. jail for smuggling pot

An Armstrong helicopter pilot who admitted he flew pot across the border for B.C. gangs has been sentenced to 10 years in a U.S. jail.
Henry Rosenau, 61, will also be on supervised release for five years once he completes his prison term, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a release.
Rosenau pleaded guilty in July 2012 to conspiracy to import marijuana, just hours before he was to go on trial for a second time.
His first Seattle trial ended in April 2012 with a hung jury.
In his plea agreement, Rosenau said he repeatedly smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana into the U.S. from Canada, illegally flying at low levels to avoid radar, and landing in wilderness areas as far east as Montana.
At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman decried the fact Rosenau had used his expertise to aid organized crime.
She said he “had skills that you turned into something sinister for your own greed…. You dumped lots and lots of drugs into this country that made their way into high schools and middle schools across Washington.”
Rosenau was one of dozens of Canadians identified in Operation Frozen Timber – the 2005 investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that identified organized crime groups smuggling B.C. pot by helicopter and planes south from Canada into the U.S., and smuggling cocaine north into Canada.
Rosenau admitted that from 2000 to 2005, he flew dozens of loads of marijuana into forested areas of Washington, Idaho and Montana. And he told authorities that he also flew B.C. residents into the U.S. to work as off-loaders and couriers for the drugs.
Rosenau was intercepted by the RCMP in 2005 upon returning to B.C. from a pot run. Police found a loaded handgun, night vision goggles, two satellite telephones, and a GPS device in the cockpit.
Rosenau fought his extradition to the U.S. for years, even filing lawsuits against witnesses, police and prosecutors to try to derail the case.
As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to dismiss the suits and admit they were frivolous.
Special agent Brad Bench, who’s in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security;s Seattle office, said: “The remote forest areas that concealed Rosenau’s and his co-conspirators’ smuggling operation also provided law enforcement with the perfect platform to observe their criminal activity.”
“Rosenau was the air courier service to several transnational criminal organizations,” he said.