June 05, 2015 - 7:32 PM
NORTH OKANAGAN - A group of eight men accused in a cross-border drug smuggling operation in which marijuana was trucked to California in hollowed out logs have been ordered extradited to the U.S.
A Supreme Court Judge has ordered Shane Donald Fraser, Todd Ian Ferguson, Daniel James Joinson, Darrell Romano, Robert Romano, Ivan Djuracic, Aaron Randolph Anderson and Jamie Daniel Nenasheff surrendered to the U.S.
The group is accused of distributing hundreds of pounds of high-grade marijuana from B.C. to California, where a log home business called Skookum Distributing provided a front for the distribution.
Police intercepted communication between the conspirators through a series of 10 wiretaps between April and December of 2006. Those conversations allegedly used coded language to discuss an ‘ongoing plan.’
Surveillance puts Joinson and Romano meeting at a Quonset hut with a portable sawmill, several peeled logs, and a flat deck truck in an industrial area in Armstrong referred to as ‘the workshop.’ Investigators watched them create rectangular compartments in the logs with chainsaws. The logs were later brought to a property in Salmon Arm before being transported to California.
Canadian and American investigators maintained surveillance of the logs throughout the trip, and busted the operation at the warehouse in California on Sept. 22, 2006, confiscating 735 pounds of marijuana, including packaging.
Of the eight-person operation, Romano and Djuracic had Kelowna addresses as of 2007, while Ferguson, Nenasheff and Anderson had addresses in Vernon as of 2006.
The men have not yet been tried or convicted for the offences, but the judge said “the totality of the evidence affords some evidence upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could convict each of the persons sought for conduct corresponding to the Canadian offences of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and trafficking in a controlled substance.”
That meets the test for extradition, in which the judge must consider whether the evidence would justify a trial in Canada, had the conduct in question occurred on this side of the border.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015