Thursday, August 07, 2008
The conspiracy described by Kim Bolan in this Vancouver Sun story covers the 5-year time period we are watching so closely: from the day of the police raid on the B.C. Legislature (28 Dec. 2003) until now. Or, more correctly: between the summer of 2003 when police were intercepting telephone calls to Dave Basi at his B.C. Ministry of Finance office from his cousin, Jasmohan Singh Bains, who was thought by police to be the new "Mr Big" of West Coast drugs trafficking. (Drugs charges against Dave Basi were dropped.) Bolan's report (below) offers a rare glimpse into the workings of traffickers. - BC Mary.
B.C.'s UN GANG SPENT $350,000 ON PLANES TO SMUGGLE COCAINE
Crime group's tentacles reached Australia, indictment says
Vancouver Sun - August 07, 2008
The UN gang and its leader, Clayton Roueche, bought two aircraft for $350,000 to smuggle large quantities of cocaine into the U.S. and Canada, according to new U.S. court documents.
The gang was involved in major cocaine shipments from South America, Central America, Mexico and Los Angeles, according to a new indictment returned by a grand jury against the leader of the Fraser Valley-based crime group.
The July 31 "superseding indictment" against Roueche and other Canadian members of the notorious UN gang paints the most detailed picture to date of the breadth of the gang's alleged criminal empire, involving international trafficking of both marijuana and cocaine.
"It was part of the conspiracy that Clay Franklin Roueche, Douglas Vanalstine, Daniel Russell ... and others arranged to possess and did possess cocaine from Southern California, Mexico, Central America and South America and they continued the possession of the cocaine in this district and elsewhere for eventual distribution," the nine-page indictment says.
"As part of the conspiracy, the cocaine was possessed for distribution and was distributed in Canada, Australia and elsewhere."
Roueche was due to appear in a Seattle courtroom today to be arraigned on the new indictment and to fix a trial date.
He applied this week to be represented by a public defender despite assets in B.C. worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. His sworn affidavit said he needs the financial help because a lawyer advised him not to lay out his net worth in a court document given allegations his wealth comes from proceeds of crime.
"The prosecutors represented to the court at my detention hearing that I have not held legitimate employment and that all that I may have comes from illegal activity," Roueche explains. "Therefore, anything I may say about assets I have could be proof that I engaged in those activities."
A U.S. Federal Court judge ruled that a lawyer would be appointed for him, but that he had to pay $1,000 US a month towards his legal costs.
Roueche was arrested May 19 after he attempted to enter Mexico for another UN gangster's wedding and was sent back on a flight that landed in Texas. The first indictment unsealed after his arrest was sparse on specifics about the allegations against the Coquitlam resident.
The new documents say Roueche flew to Montreal this past January to attend a meeting of other Canadian drug traffickers.
And they say Roueche and his gang smuggled 1,252 kilograms of B.C. bud into Washington in five shipments between June 2005 and March 2006. As well, the gang is accused of arranging coke shipments totalling 440 kilograms between March 2006 and April 2007. The indictment alleges the drug conspiracy continued over five years right up until last week.
Roueche faces five charges, including conspiracy to export and distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import marijuana, money laundering and carrying a firearm "during the crime of drug trafficking."
The UN bought its first plane in June 2005 for $150,000 Canadian "for use in exporting cocaine into Canada through and from the United States. In May 2006, the co-conspirators purchased and caused to be purchased a superior smuggling aircraft for $200,000 [US]."
One of the gang's planes was stopped in Washington state in September 2006 carrying 144 kilograms of cocaine, the indictment says.
"Between July 2005 and September 2006, co-conspirators flew aircraft and directed that aircraft be flown between Canada and Los Angeles, stopping often in the Western District of Washington with cargo loads of cocaine."
Specifically they say Roueche arranged on April 7, 2007, "for a motor vehicle loaded with 60 kilograms of cocaine to attempt to enter Canada."
"It was part of the conspiracy that the co-conspirators and others at their direction and on their behalf transported the cocaine in motor vehicles and aircraft. As part of the conspiracy they purchased and directed the rental, purchase and use of various motor vehicles and aircraft."
U.S. authorities managed to intercept several shipments, the documents say, such as a March 8, 2006 cocaine haul totalling 107 kilograms.
Along with the coke, police found $462,007 US in drug money, a kilogram of crack, firearms and a silencer, the indictment says.
Another 80 kilograms of the group's cocaine was seized in L.A. in November 2006, along with $217,000 US and "pay and owe" tally sheets, the court documents say.
While Roueche remains in detention in the Seattle area, his two UN gang-mates -- Vanalstine and Russell -- continue to reside in B.C. despite the U.S. allegations against them.
"It was part of this conspiracy that Clay Franklin Roueche, Douglas Vanalstine, Daniel Russell and the UN Gang emphasized loyalty, honor and respect as UN Gang values," the indictment says.
ONLINE: See more UN Gang photos and stories at vancouversun.com under Editor's Picks.
Good morning, Anonymous 7:57:
To answer your question, I must emphasize that first of all, this blog isn't about Basi, Virk, and Basi exclusively.
It's about BCRail.
And the reason we know that the BCRail transaction may have been tainted, is because police were investigating drug trafficking which led them into the BC Legislature, and specifically to a wire-tap on Dave Basi's phone. That's where police first heard the talk about BCRail. You'll find reports of this on this blog: just use the Search box, top left.
Kim Bolan's report today describes the exact same 5-year period we're watching. And she provides the outlines of other drugs trafficking into and out of BC: how it works.
I made this clear, I thought, in the brief introduction to Bolan's report.
Maybe I could just add that I have always thought it an error of judgment for police (or Crown, or whoever) to have dropped the drugs charges against Dave Basi. The people of B.C. need to know more, not less, about that.
There were 8 other people included in that 2003 investigation. They were named, and their activities (if I recall correctly) mirrored what Bolan says here today -- except that the marijuana and cocaine deliveries were being made west / east between BC and Ontario. I believe all 8 persons were charged, all stood trial, but news of that is hard to find.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that these details provide an important glimpse into an aspect of political life in the past 5 years. And we should be paying attention.
Does this answer your question?
Your accusations are serious, ugly, and without sources. You don't indicate if the alleged crimes occurred in the USA or in Canada.
So I will not publish what you've just written.
But if you'd care to expand your accusations to include WHAT U.S. forces, WHERE the fraud occurred, and WHO is allegedly involved or investigated ... maybe.
But for starters: I do not remember anybody from government, police, or citizenry saying "This raid had nothing to do with BC Rail." This sounds like wishful thinking. I mean, ask yourself: how would anybody know that without knowing all else?
So if you will fill in a few blanks, like I said, "Maybe ..." Or, maybe not.
"Jasmohan Bains, Brahm Mikol, John Scallon and Arianna Blythe Vernon were charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto between Sept. 19 and Dec. 9, 2003.
The trial of Bains is scheduled for 2008 in Victoria."
- Neal Hall Vancouver Sun April 06, 2007
Thanks very much, North Van's Grumps. It's a good reminder, all right.
But we don't know whether Bains ever stood trial -- or if his trial is coming up at a later date -- "in 2008". We don't know yet the details of the charges, nor whether (if the trial is over) Bains was found guilty or not guilty.
Yes, I know, I know: I really should be checking the whole B.C. Supreme Court List, every morning of every day, watching for Jasmohan Bains on the Victoria listings. And perhaps, starting next week, I can do that -- if I get delivery of a new computer ... as I'm sure tired of fighting with this 4-year-old eMac which seems to think it has done enough work and wants to quit.
Thanks, NVG, and everyone who has helped.
I was especially touched by someone's comment today, saying that this blog works for the common good. A lovely thing to say. Thank you.
Could someone clarify what the difference is between someone who is "hired directly" by a Cabinet Minister (Collins) and an "appointment" by Chief of Staff?
I realize that if Basi/Virk/Basi are not found guilty, if the court proceedings halt because of the trial taking too long, then the lawyer fees for the defendents will be covered by the Provincial government (read Taxpayers).... if the trio are found guilty as charged then its their responsibilty to pay the lawyers.
Are "hired" and "appointed" individuals, both, covered by the Public Service Act?
To Anon 6:58 who is about to be deleted:
Ask yourself why I jumped all over Gary Mason's story in The Globe and Mail (Dec '06) -- the one which was headlined "There's nothing to these charges". OK? Note the difference between somebody advertising an hopeful agenda and the others who are investigating an unresolved mystery.
Then note that I said (above) that I do not remember anybody from government, police, or citizenry saying "This raid had nothing to do with BC Rail. This sounds like wishful thinking. I mean, ask yourself: how would anybody know that without knowing all else?"
Seems clear enough to me: nobody with a fair and open mind would decide that an entire investigation had "nothing to do with BCRail" ... in fact, I'd say that anybody who dismissed any such possibility without knowing the topic thoroughly, has a closed, biased mind with something to hide.
As for the "date rape drugs" you talk about, well, I'd guess that such a notion does qualify as having "nothing to do with BC Rail".
Maybe I should tack up a sign saying: "Enough already."
"After the 2001 election, Basi was the only ministerial aide hired directly by a cabinet minister. All other MAs were appointed by Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff."
N.V.G. asked what is the difference. In my view, the difference hinges upon the word "hired". Perhaps it should have said "chosen".
Dave Basi and Gary Collins had a friendship going back several years. The two men having worked together, it seemed natural (to me, at least) that a newly-appointed Finance Minister would look for staff he knew. So he lost no time in choosing Basi.
But Mr Micro-Manager seemed to see a flaw in that arrangement -- perhaps he wanted total control in the premier's office -- and soon the edict came down: that Cabinet Ministers should not be shopping up their own staff. Martyn Brown would do that in future.
I believe the terms of employment were the same for Dave Basi as for the other chosen-by-Brown aides. The difference was only that Collins made his own choice before the rules were laid down.
Can anybody tell us whether Cabinet Ministers in the past were free to select their own staff?
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