Vancouver – Charges are laid against six men involved in the importation of multi-kilos of cocaine into Canada and exporting ecstasy into the United States.
The charges follow a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) investigation that spanned British Columbia, California, Mexico and Peru. CFSEU’s investigation was initiated in 2008 following information from the Drug Enforcement Administration that Canadian and American-based citizens were using a sophisticated system of encrypted smartphones to communicate and organize drug transactions on an international scale.
The investigation revealed that a number of the accused travelled extensively throughout North and South America, conspiring to buy cocaine and importing it into Canada and then exporting ecstasy into the U.S. A number of seizures took place over the course of the investigation beginning on August 21, 2008 when 23 kilograms (117,000 pills) of ecstasy pills were seized in Princeton, B.C. On December 20, 2008, another 121 kilograms of cocaine were seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. A few days later, on December 24, a further 97 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a commercial transport truck carrying bananas were also seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. In May 2009, another 10 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Burnaby.
“We took a significant amount of drugs off the streets during this investigation. The cocaine alone represents a street value (per gram) of over $17 million,” says CFSEU-BC spokesperson Sgt. Ghalib Bhayani.
The investigation progressed for six more months and concluded with seven warrants executed in June 2009 at residences in Chilliwack, Burnaby, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, and the Lake Country (between Kelowna and Vernon). Those searches resulted in the seizure of four firearms including a restricted 44 Magnum pistol, and a number of prohibited firearms including a 357 Magnum revolver, a 38 calibre semi-automatic pistol and a 40 calibre semi-automatic pistol.
Charged are: Khamla Wong, 42, formerly of Abbotsford, Jeremy Albert Stark, 38, of Langley, Christopher Lloyd Mehan, 40, of Burnaby, Matthew James Higgins, 28, of Powell River, Hernan Osvaldo Veloso, 50, of Vancouver, and Robert Charles Arthur, 32, of Surrey. Wong remains at large.