Major drug bust in region

Ties to city: RCMP search, seize van in Salmon Arm.

  • Oct. 5, 2011 3:00 p.m.

A major weekend drug bust involving cocaine and ecstasy in the North Okanagan-Shuswap  area has ties to the Prairies and United States.

Saskatchewan RCMP issued a release Monday stating that members of the Regina Integrated Drug Unit launched, in April, a multi-agency controlled drug investigation in partnership with the United States Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The investigation centred on the importation of large quantities of controlled drugs that were allegedly being imported into Canada, and exported into the U.S. via unmanned border crossings in rural Southern Saskatchewan,” said Saskatchewan RCMP media relations officer Sgt. Paul Dawson.

The investigation alleges that cocaine was destined for B.C. while mass quantities of ecstasy were headed for the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. From each of those destinations, the illegal drugs would be distributed to communities across North America.

The Regina Integrated Drug Unit conducted simultaneous searches at homes on Silver Star and in Coldstream on Saturday, specifically in the 9800 block of Pinnacle Road on Silver Star, and on Palfrey Drive West in Coldstream.

An adult man was arrested at each home.

In the searches, investigators seized more than $3,500 in cash, documents and six unregistered firearms.

A 2003 Ford Windstar van was stopped, searched and seized in Salmon Arm, resulting in a third person being arrested.

Over the weekend, the drug unit seized 30 kilograms of cocaine, estimated to be worth $1.35 million on the street, and 100,000 tablets of ecstasy, worth an estimated $1 million, in the searches.

“This is a very significant seizure and there’s more work to be done,” said Dawson. “Had these controlled drugs reached their intended destination, there would be considerable harm to communities and individuals.”

Brock Ernest Palfrey, 25, of Silver Star, is charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to export ecstasy. He is also charged with four counts of breaching an undertaking.

William Bruce Larsen, 50, of Coldstream, is charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to export ecstasy.

Ronald Charles Learning, 28, from Golden, is charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to export ecstasy.

Palfrey and Larsen were scheduled to appear in Regina Provincial Court Monday, while Learning was to make an appearance in Vernon Provincial Court, also on Monday.

Dawson anticipated more charges will follow as the matter remains under investigation.

Approximately 40 to 45 officers were involved in the searches and seizures over the weekend.

At least eight law agencies in Canada, including the Vernon RCMP task force, helped in the investigation along with representatives from the U.S.


Salmon Arm Observer