Four men from Maple Ridge and another from Pitt Meadows were among 13 people arrested following a five-month, cross-Canada investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering.
RCMP targeted a suspected a drug trafficking network operating in the Lower Mainland of B.C. and extending across Canada. They were believed to be distributing large quantities of marihuana from the Vancouver area to points in central and eastern Canada: Toronto; Montreal, Halifax and St John’s.
The investigation confirmed that individuals were traveling via commercial airlines and transporting marihuana and large quantities of cash in their checked baggage. RCMP allege the individuals were conspiring to move a significant volume of drugs from one location to another in Canada.
Wednesday, officers from the RCMP Federal and Serious Organized Crime Unit searched six residences in the Halifax Regional Municipality and eight residences in the Lower Mainland area of B.C.
Seven males were arrested in the Lower Mainland area; five males and one female were arrested in the greater Halifax area.
During the course of the investigation, officers seized $347,000 in cash, 235 pounds of marijuana, marijuana plants, cocaine and two pounds of hashish, as well as firearms and other weapons, money counting machines, sets of scales and vacuum sealers, numerous vehicles.
“These individuals had an established network operating a sophisticated drug distribution chain that has ties to organized crime,” said Insp. Mike Payne, Nova Scotia RCMP Federal and Serious Organized Crime Unit. “Investigators have disrupted this network and as a result of today’s arrests, we have ended their activities.
“The mandate of federal serious and organized crime investigators at the Vancouver international airport remains to detect and dismantle organized criminal activity at or through the airport,” said Insp. Mike Carlson, RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Group. “This cooperative effort with the criminal intelligence section of B.C. and RCMP federal investigators in Nova Scotia is an excellent example of the success which can be generated through cooperative enforcement efforts and effective intelligence sharing.”
The following individuals were arrested in B.C. on Wednesday:
• Stephen John Lockett, 42, Pitt Meadows;
• Jeffrey Michael Boyer, 34, Coquitlam;
• Reece Peter Germaine, 28, North Vancouver;
• Derek Nicklaus Pilling, 28, Maple Ridge;
• Douglas Kurtiss Neumann, 33, Maple Ridge;
• Darren Ernest Telford, 29, Maple Ridge;
• Ryan Frederick Franklin, 28, Maple Ridge.
Lockett and Boyer are jointly facing charges of conspiracy to traffick marijuana, proceeds of crime and money laundering. Germaine, Pilling, Neumann, Telford and Franklin are each facing charges of trafficking in marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime and money laundering.
Officers have escorted them to Nova Scotia to appear in Halifax Provincial Court.