Friday, March 21, 2008

RCMP celebrates successful conclusion to drug investigation

They say that good things come to those that wait, and judging by the time frame involved that certainly fits the requirement in a recently concluded, long running drug investigation.

The RCMP in Prince Rupert held an open house of sorts on Wednesday, to show off the haul of illegal drugs now destined for destruction, the accumulated evidence from an investigation that went from its early beginnings in 2002 to a final conviction in January of 2007.

In the end, Brian Michael Laliberte of Prince Rupert, will spend two years in jail, as well as a 10 years firearm prohibition, a lifetime prohibition on owning restricted firearms and the forfeiture of offence-related items.

It was the second bit of news related to the drug trade in the Northwest in two days, The Terrace Standard features details on line about a rather tense showdown between the Terrace RCMP and a number of alleged local drug dealers this week at a Terrace hotel.

One file closes and another one opens up.

While his sentencing and the case that led to it is outlined in detail on the front page of Thursday's Daily News, the lure of fast money in the drug trade seems to go on.

By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Page one

Following a lengthy investigation that traced drug trafficking through multiple jurisdictions and across international borders, the Prince Rupert North District Drug Section was clearly delighted to announce this week the convictions of two of those involved.

Beginning in 2002, the Project Etage investigation lasted around two years and resulted in a total seizure of approximately three kilograms of cocaine, one-and-a-half kilograms of methamphetamine and more than six kilograms of marijuana.

The investigation first came to fruition in November 2003, when 48-year-old Michael Nelson was arrested onboard the Alaska Ferry Taku and found to be in possession of two pounds of marijuana. The ferry was en route from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan, Alaska, and the arrest was made possible through a close working relationship between the Prince Rupert North Drug Section and U.S. law enforcement officials.

As a result of that arrest, Michael Nelson was sentenced to three years in jail by U.S. authorities.
In December 2003, police stopped a vehicle in Chilliwack, British Columbia, and located 32-year-old Brian Michael Laliberte of Prince Rupert.

After searching the vehicle, police found Laliberte to be in possession of three kilograms of cocaine, one-and-a-half kilograms of methamphetamine, and more than four kilograms of marijuana, all of which was in hockey bags in the trunk of the vehicle.

On Sept. 10, 2007, Laliberte plead guilty to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and in January he was sentenced in Prince Rupert Supreme Court to two years in jail, 10 years firearm prohibition, and a lifetime prohibition on owning restricted firearms as well as the forfeiture of offence-related items.

"Project Etage is a fine example of borderless enforcement in which one investigation can span several communities and involve police officers from many detachments and municipal areas," said Constable Krista Vrolyk, community policing officer for the Prince Rupert RCMP.

"Project Etage is an excellent example of the work done every day by members of the Prince Rupert North District Drug Section.

The RCMP is committed to drug investigation and enforcement and will go wherever they need to in order to investigate and enforce drug legislation."

Six arrested in motel room drug bust
Terrace Standard
March 19, 2008

FIVE YOUTHS were among the six people arrested in a downtown motel room with what police are calling a "sizable quantity"of illegal drugs.

Police executed a search warrant on a downtown motel room shortly before midnight March 18 and found cultivated marijuana and ecstacy pills, according to a press release.

When police called the people inside the motel room and instructed them to come out, a male exited the room holding a firearm. Officers ordered him to get down on the floor. The firearm was later identified as a replica pellet gun, say police. Officers found more marijuana and ecstacy in the motel room.

Officers were acting on information indicating that several people in a vehicle were driving around allegedly trying to sell drugs and that there was a handgun inside the vehicle. Police found the vehicle in the motel parking lot and set up a visual perimeter before contacting the suspects, say police.

All of the arrested suspects were later released. Police continue their investigation and say they will be recommending charges to Crown prosecutors.

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