Friday, February 19, 2010


BC Rail: when police raided the BC Legislature


Drug charges were laid against Dave Basi as well as against Jasmohan Singh Bains after the Legislature Raids. We know this from a little exchange in Supreme Court when Janet Winteringham (a Crown Prosecutor) said the Basi-Virk defence was simply wrong when it stated that the investigation, code named Project Everywhichway, suddenly veered off course to target Mr. Basi … 

In fact, she said, Mr. Basi emerged as an early person of interest in a drug investigation that was triggered when informants told the RCMP that the arrest, in May 2002, of U.S. drug dealer Cirilo Lopez had created an opening for a new drug boss on Vancouver Island. 

“The word on the street was that Jas Bains was going to be the person taking over,” Ms. Winteringham said.  After Cirilo Lopez, the new Mr Big was expected to be Jasmohan Bains (Dave Basi's cousin).

Drug charges against Dave Basi were stayed by the Crown in 2005. 

I have been watching the news for 6 years now, to find out what happened to Cirilo Lopez, the original Mr Big in the U.S., and this is the first time the name has shown up. But then, Jasmohan Bains' 2008 trial wasn't reported in the news either.

This unfortunate police officer may not be the same Cirilo Lopez. 

As a guess, I'd say that "Police Officer Cirilo Lopez" is not the "Mr Big Cirilo Lopez" associated over 6 years ago with the Vancouver Island drug trade; but the name Cirilo Lopez is appearing for the first time in 6 years in today's news:

... Killed along with the mayor [of Democracia, Guatemala] were police officers Cirilo Lopez and Marco Tulio Lopez and a street vendor identified as Pascual Perez.

Citing witness accounts, Rudy Fuentes said the attack was mounted by a least a dozen people who arrived at the scene in a vehicle, fleeing afterward on foot in the direction of the nearby Mexican border ...

The news report is HERE.
From Latin American Herald Tribune
Caracas, Venezuela - Feb. 19, 2010.

Posting that information brought welcome suggestions from knowledgeable readers ... 

Hi, Mary

You asked

 "I can't find any trace of a Jan. 2009 murder outside Gotham Restaurant in Vancouver. Can you add a few more bits to the puzzle? "

This may help.

Ricardo Scarpino aka Richard Scarpino: Reputed bounty hunter, cocaine smuggler, killer-not one of Vancouver's nor Victoria's finest. Caught dead to rights for murder by LA Police, cocaine smuggling charges in Victoria dropped by Crown for undisclosed reasons, over the course of a career that left him dead on a Vancouver street, best I can determine he was convicted only of property theft.

Here's a brief summary (January 20, 2008) of his activities.

Scarpino was convicted in 1999 in Victoria of being the ringleader in
a cocaine importation scheme. [sic, all other reports I have found said those charges were dropped by the Crown.] He was previously involved in a shooting
death in 1993 when he was working as a bounty hunter in California,
but  convinced a court it was a matter of self-defence and was
sentenced to 27 months for firearms violations.

According to police and gang sources, Scarpino has also worked with a
variety of criminal groups, including prominent gangsters linked to
Ranjit Singh Cheema, who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face
trafficking charges.

Scarpino told Lower Mainland associates that he had New York Mafia

His brother told the Vancouver Sun the day after the shooting "Mario said no family members were at the restaurant for the engagement party and only learned about the shooting later in the evening."

The second target in the shooting was Gilles Andre LePage.  LePage, 38, had been living in West Vancouver with Scarpino, the other murder victim. LePage had no criminal record and was known to the police only through his association with Scarpino.

January 21, 2008

... Richard Scarpino, 37, and an unidentified man were shot dead Saturday night just moments after they arrived at the upscale Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar, where Scarpino was planning to attend his engagement party.

Scarpino, who was released from jail last week, was sentenced in 1998 for importing cocaine from Colombia. In 1993, at age 23, he also shot and killed a man in a Los Angeles mall.

Police are saying the dispute was over money and possibly drugs.
On Saturday, Scarpino and his fiancée pulled up outside Gotham in a black Land Rover with two friends. Moments later, gunmen raced across the street and began shooting. Scarpino and another man died. ...

In an interview, Scarpino's brother Mario told the CBC that his brother was trying to make a fresh start after getting out of the gang scene.

Interestingly in a listing of "Metro Vancouver slayings for 2008" by Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun January 7, 2009, the name is listed as Ricardo Francis Scarpino.

Jan. 19: Ricardo Francis Scarpino and Gilles Andre Lepage are gunned down as they arrive in a black Land Rover at Gotham's Steakhouse downtown. Two armed men, laying in wait, walk up to the vehicle and shoot the pair. Afterwards, the suspects flee on foot and police later recover two guns.

Here's an item from December 1993 about a Richard F. Scarpino, aged 23. Could be the same guy, the age is right and the name seems it could be the same ( Ricardo Francis Scarpino or Richard F. Scarpino)

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has decided not to file murder charges against a man who shot a dinner companion seven times at an upscale Redondo Beach mall last weekend, saying there is no evidence to disprove the man's claim that he fired in self-defense.

"It's frustrating that a person gets killed in front of all those other people and there's nothing we can do," said Monika Blodgett, chief deputy at the Torrance district attorney's office. "But our hands are tied."

The shooting on the patio of the Red Robin restaurant at the Galleria at South Bay on Saturday occurred just after 6 p.m., following an argument among three men who were having dinner.

According to police, one of the men, Richard F. Scarpino, 23, a Canadian citizen who had been living in Oregon, drew a handgun and started shooting his dinner companion, Aum Trammell, 24, of Long Beach. At least eight shots were fired as diners and shoppers screamed and ducked for cover.

Blodgett said an autopsy showed that Trammell was hit seven times in the head, chest and back. He died at South Bay Hospital in Redondo Beach shortly after the shooting.

Scarpino and another man at the table, Bradley Steven Kyllo, 23, of Vancouver, British Columbia, attempted to flee the scene but were quickly apprehended by Redondo Beach police. Both were carrying handguns and wearing bulletproof vests. Trammell also was carrying a .45-caliber handgun when he was shot, Redondo Beach Police Sgt. Rick Petersen said. ...

Blodgett said Scarpino and Kyllo are being held by U.S. immigration authorities pending deportation to Canada. It is unclear whether the men will face lesser charges in the case. Story is HERE.

A search on Ricardo Francis Scarpino will get you a bunch of results  including this one:


Mr. Scarpino was convicted and served time for heading up a huge cocaine smuggling ring based in Victoria in the late 1990s.

But the convictions were subsequently stayed several years later by the Crown for undisclosed reasons, and Mr. Scarpino was soon released.

In 1993, Mr. Scarpino killed a man in a busy Los Angeles restaurant, while acting as a bounty hunter. He was not charged with murder, however, because investigators could not disprove Mr. Scarpino's claim that he acted in self defence.

He had also served time for property theft.

Constable Fanning said the second victim, a 38-year West Vancouver resident described as a friend of Mr. Scarpino, was not known to police. His identity is being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.

The attack took place while Mr. Scarpino and three passengers were still inside his black 2007 Land Rover that had pulled up to the restaurant.

A pair of black-clad gunmen ran up and pumped numerous bullets at the victims, before dashing off down a nearby alley. Two handguns were found a block away.

Mr. Scarpino was killed right beside his fiancée, who had been sitting in the front seat of the Land Rover.

"She is very, very distraught, as you can imagine," said Constable Fanning. "It was an absolutely horrific thing to happen on what was supposed to have been a very joyous evening."

January 20, 2008

Gangster killed
Ricardo Scarpino, released from jail one week ago, was shot dead in
downtown Vancouver in front of his fiance

Kim Bolan
The Vancouver Sun
(Comments In Brackets [the poster's] Own.)


The Vancouver Sun has learned that Scarpino had only gotten out of
jail on Jan. 12 after a series of run-ins with the law going back 14 years on both sides of the border. His brother Mario said Sunday that the whole family is distraught at the news, especially given that
Scarpino was about to get married and start his life fresh.

"Supposedly they were going away next week to get married," he said. "I know that he was planning on getting into some sort of real estate."

Mario said no family members were at the restaurant for the engagement party and only learned about the shooting later in the evening.

"I was invited, but I wasn't [there] ... My mother phoned me," he said.  "And then I watched it on the news."

(His brother gets out of the pen and he doesn't go to a engagement
dinner at a well-known steakhouse.? Was he warned in some way to stay away? What kind of brother wouldn't go to a dinner at a nice restaurant with his new sister-in-law?)

He said he can't figure out why the gangland hit would come so quickly
after his brother's release from jail, where he had spent much of the last eight years.

(Why should they wait? Going to the Gotham Steak House where I have
seen HA ppl eat is a way of letting the gangsters of the city know you are still into it following your release from prison. Go to the Salmon House on the North Shore or Hy's  Black Angus if you are trying to stay out of the criminal underworld and make a fresh start.)

"I wonder and am asking myself how this could have happened. I mean
the police can't give him personal protection," Mario said. "You know
what, it could be an old score, I don't know. It could be a new score."

(Did he ask for protection? That isn't allowed if you're a gangster. No wonder they killed him in such a brazen fashion.)


The two had known each other for a couple of years, meeting while
Scarpino was incarcerated.

Author Ed Griffin taught Scarpino creative writing in Matsqui Institution several years ago. He was devastated when he learned of the murder.

"This is really tragic. This is a life gone down the tubes," said Griffin on Sunday. "I am sad that he is dead."

He said Scarpino was extremely intelligent and dynamic - a real leader who could have gone far in life.

"In that class, there were lots of ideas flowing around. He was a very
creative guy and quite a leader," Griffin said. "It is really sad to
me that the prison system failed him."


Slain man a great family man, niece says

When Amanda Schwab's baby son had cancer six years ago, her uncle - Ricardo Francis Scarpino - sent his prayers and love from prison.

"My son was three months old and he was stricken with cancer. My uncle still sent a nun to come and pay his regards to his nephew Austin and she ended up having 700 nuns praying for my son. And it worked," Schwab said today. "Even when he was in jail, he was here with us."

She said the clan is upset by the negative media coverage of Scarpino's gangland execution in front of an upscale Vancouver restaurant Saturday, with his close friend Gilles Andre LePage.


Police have described the 37-year-old as immersed in organized crime and freelancing his services to almost every major gang in B.C. He served time in prison for gun possession, robbery, unlawful confinement, and drug importation, though the final charge was stayed after he won an appeal of his original conviction.

But even law enforcement officers who knew Scarpino admit his charisma allowed him to talk his way out of almost any situation and to maintain international organized crime connections up to and including the Mafia.

"He never really brought it home," Schwab said of her uncle's criminal ties. "You have to remember that he was the victim here."

Asked what legitimate jobs Scarpino had held, the only one Schwab could remember was modelling.

"That's all that I know about," she said.

She said Scarpino, who was on his way to his own engagement party at Gotham Restaurant, was the happiest she had ever seen him. His shocked fiance is still reeling from watching him being gunned down as she sat beside him in his SUV.

The family is planning a funeral, Schwab said, though the details have not been finalized. In the meantime, as police try to identify two suspects who fled on foot, the family has been poring over old photos of good times, Schwab said.

"I just remember him being there every Christmas and all the special times. He was always devoted to his family," she said, recalling that he would always tell her to maintain strong connections to relatives.

"It is terrible and we are the ones that have to pick up the pieces somehow," Schwab said.

LePage, 38, was sitting behind Scarpino when he was also hit by the assassins. Vancouver police said Wednesday that he has no criminal record, and is known to them only as a Scarpino associate. The two men shared a rented British Properties mansion.


And, as if that isn't dramatic enough, our old friend and mentor, RossK from Pacific Gazette offers: 

Mary et al......

Try adding 'Romero' to the end of Senor Lopez' name. (U.S. Court of Appeals vs Cirilo Lopez Romero)

(note the basis of the charge and the date of the judgement re: 'The Opening' mentioned by Ms. Winteringham so long ago)

To Watcher above---

Are you suggesting that there is/was a connection between Mr. Lopez and one of the victims of the targetted shooting outside the Gotham Restaurant in early 2008, Ricardo Scarpino, who was, according to media reports at the time "well-known" to police and that he was involved in criminal activity?

And if you are saying there is such a connection what is the basis for that statement?



The defence will file a Charter of Rights challenge to the case on March 21 and that application, plus other defence requests, could well have the effect of delaying the April 2 trial start date -- if they don't result in the complete cancellation of the trial itself.


I thought this thing was going to trial, no more delay tactics by the Defence?

Please tell me this isnt so...?!!
It isn't so.

Check the date on this posting.

There are several surprises in this presentation and the date is one of them.

Seriously, it pays to read everything about the Basi-Virk / BC Rail developments with a critical eye.
Different LOPEZ. Scarpino was murdered in Vancouver in January 2009 outside Gotham restaurant. Its a serious business.

Well ... this might be seriously important info.,

or not,

because if it refers to somebody named Scarpino Lopez,

I can't find any trace of a Jan. 2009 murder outside Gotham Restaurant in Vancouver.

Can you add a few more bits to the puzzle?

Many thanks, if you can.

And yes, I can guess how desperately "serious" this business is.
Watcher? you still there??

I found a Ricardo Scarpino in this story about Clay Roueche ...

Gang leader's life caught on tape

Clay Roueche boasts of drug connections, talks of buying guns in wiretaps before his arrest.

Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun - Dec. 12, 2009


... Zuzolo mentioned a business trip back east with Ricardo Scarpino, a gangster executed in downtown Vancouver in January 2008.

Roueche told his associate that people were after Zuzolo on that trip and wanted to kill him because they thought he "f---ed up the market."

End of quote.

Where does Cirilo Lopez fit into this picture (which, if you read Kim Bolan's full column, is much concerned with Mexico)?
Mary et al......

Try adding 'Romero' to the end of Senor Lopez' name.

(note the basis of the charge and the date of the judgement re: 'The Opening' mentioned by Ms. Winteringham so long ago)

To Watcher above---

Are you suggesting that there is/was a connection between Mr. Lopez and one of the victims of the targetted shooting outside the Gotham Restaurant in early 2008, Ricardo Scarpino, who was, according to media reports at the time "well-known" to police and that he was involved in criminal activity?

And if you are saying there is such a connection what is the basis for that statement?


Here's a link to an old post of mine that quotes from a (now Subscription Wailing Walled-Off) piece from Mark Hume in the Globe that explains 'The Opening' thing in a little more detail.


That was one hot post, too. Jeez, we're almost chumming around with Organized Crime ...

we never know who's seated behind the next potted palm, do we?

But I've always thought that RCMP Staff Sgt John Ward deserved and still deserves a lot of credit for giving the first general public warning that Organized Crime had, since 2001, crept into every level of society in B.C.

Little did we know. Little do we still know ...

It would appear, given Mr. Scarpino's apparent involvement with illicit dealings in Victoria in the late '90's, that 'The Watcher' above may have, indeed, been on to something given, again, Mr. Winteringham's previous statements to scribes, including Mr. Hume, Mr. Neal Hall, and, if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Bill Tieleman, from the public prints.

And if one were going to go looking for more information on this sort of thing from knowledgable folks?.....Well, my pastexperience in dealing with the very knowledgable Ms. Kim Bolan taught me that she is always willing to respond to thoughtful and respectful inquiries. And we both know that you are very capable of both...

(of being both thoughtful and respectful, I mean)

This is starting to look like awfully good crime/political thriller-script.....I mean, they pay good money for people to come up with storylines like what's unfolding here.....

The comments from the writing teacher about Scarpino and who he could have been had he lived were very interesting. A lot of the "young talent" and leadership material in British Columbia have found, er, advancement and opportunity in the elaborate and often-glamorous Vancouver underworld, which exists as a result of the "morality vacuum" in the "legitimate leadership" and which is full of individuals whose loss to and estrangement from regular society is a great shame - but entirely necessitated by the jacked real estate and corrupt way of doing ordinary business in BC,. and the bad example set by the BC "in group". Why be straight when the government is crooked, is how I heard it put, if not quite in those words - it may have been a Phillippone who said that, maybe someone way back, as this type of thing didn't start with Clay Roueche (or Bindy Johal or any number of other such names that could be brought forward).

It's not surprising that such individuals would know others of similarly ambitious ilk within the shadier ends of government. Crime cannot exist without government, and really neither can government with crime; it's an ancient symbiosis and all too natural. BC has a history as a smuggling port since before Vancouver's founding, nobody should be surprised if the same necessary looseness between importers/exporters and regulators exists now as it did in colonial times...maybe with a little more gunplay, but much the same as ever, anywhere.....but with a particular BC/Vancouver flair.

I used to joke that the provincial flag should include the Jolly Roger....
Too bad we do not have the power, or Canadian equivalent of a US grand jury to shed some light on the situation.
To Anonymous: well, we do have the power of a US grand jury to use - if "we" can find a tie-in between this case and any violation of US trade and investment laws.....then the US justice system can be brought to bear on an investigation of the Pirate Province's endemic corruption....
Does anyone happen to know his father's name? I'm researching genealogy.

Thanks much,

He was my cousin. I will never forget him. I'll love and miss him forever.
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