July 17, 2013 - 2:42 PM
KAMLOOPS - Charges have been laid against eight Kamloops men after an eight-month undercover drug investigation in 2012 that brought down a local criminal organization with ties to a gang in the Lower Mainland.
"The significance here is we have eliminated an organization — a criminal organization," said RCMP Sgt. Gary Senner.
The investigation, dubbed 'Project Enocturnal,' ran from February until October 2012 and resulted in the dismantling of an organized cocaine dial-a-dope operation in Kamloops.
The criminal group orchestrated the sale of powdered cocaine by phone with a single line designated for on-call drug delivery. Investigators utilized wire tap specialists who listened in on private communications to help bring the operation down. Kamloops RCMP drug and property crime members were assisted by provincial and federal drug enforcement, including surveillance and undercover officers.
In the later part of the investigation, five search warrants were executed in and around Kamloops resulting in the seizure of 1.3 kilograms of cocaine, $142,000 in cash, bullet proof vests, drug paraphernalia, four firearms, ammunition and two vehicles.
RCMP Insp. Jennie Latham said Kamloops is not known for harvesting gang related crimes, however drugs are prevalent in the area.
Almost 1,000 customer phone numbers — people from all walks of life — were identified as buying through the busted dial-a-dope phone line.
Latham said these operations will not be tolerated in Kamloops.
"I hope it's a very loud and clear message," she said. "As quickly as they seem to set up, we're on top of them."
Police believe one of the men is connected with a Lower Mainland gang known as the United Nations however would not reveal which of them is suspected of the ties. RCMP were able to assess the hierarchy of the local organization and determined 31-year-old Richard Arthur Crawford to be the leader. He is charged with one count of instructing the commission of an offence for a criminal organization, and one count of conspiracy to commit and indictable offence.
Jean-Claude Auger, 37 has the largest variety of charges against him with one count of commission of offence for a criminal organization, one count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and one count of possessing a controlled drug/substance for the purpose of trafficking.
Steven Lloyd Currie, 28 is facing one count of commission of offence for a criminal organization and one count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Christopher Kieth Anderson, 22, is charged with six counts of trafficking.
Tyrell MacDougal, 29, faces two charges of trafficking.
Bradley Charles Edwards, 42, has five counts of trafficking.
Christopher Willam Bayers, 24, is charged with three counts trafficking and one count for possession.
Adam John McCaw, 38, will stand before the judge for five counts of trafficking.
A woman was also arrested at the time of the investigation, however she was released without charges. The eight charged will appear in court on July 22.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013