B.C. police seize drugs and lay charges

Jan 5, 2023

Following a four-year investigation by B.C.’s anti-gang unit, a total of 41 charges against four alleged drug traffickers were laid earlier in December. According to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., the investigation was carried out in collaboration with RCMP’s federal Serious Organized Crime Unit on the file that targeted the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and its affiliates on Vancouver Island.

Beginning in June 2018, the investigation targeted the criminal networks of members of the Hells Angels in Nanaimo and their alleged support clubs, the Savages and Devils Army.

“This lengthy and complex investigation spanned over four years and included over 50 dedicated resources resulting in significant seizures of potentially deadly drugs and serious charges,” said Assistant Commissioner Manny Mann, chief officer for the special enforcement unit, in a released statement.

As a result of the investigation, the police confiscated 22 firearms and over 13 kilograms of illegal drugs, and made several arrests. Initially, arrest warrants were issued for William Karl Paulsen, 51, of Campbell River, Kristopher Stephen Smith, 44, of Nanaimo, and Sean Oliver Douglas Kendall, 44, of Port Alberni.

In a separate investigation on Vancouver Island, over two dozen charges were laid against seven alleged drug traffickers, one of whom is a full-patch member of the Hells Angels’ Haney chapter.

The investigation in early 2020 into what police believed to be a “large-scale drug-trafficking operation on behalf of a criminal organization in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan,” said Sgt. Brenda Winpenny in a release.

As a result of the investigation, between September 2020 and July 2021, a dozen search warrants led to the seizure of about $650,000 cash; illegal drugs including two kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of fentanyl, one kilogram of MDMA and 10 kilograms of cannabis; firearms including a 9 mm handgun and ammunition, a .45-calibre handgun with prohibited SKS rifle magazines and ammo, three rifles, a shotgun, body armour, and two vehicles.

“This investigation resulted in the seizure of potentially deadly drugs, firearms, and disruption of a sophisticated drug-trafficking operation securing a number of significant criminal charges,” said the Combined Forces chief officer, Assistant Commissioner Manny Mann, in a released police statement.

Additionally, in November, New Westminster police seized $2.4 million in drugs during a traffic stop in New Westminster, after an officer pulled over the driver of a suspicious vehicle with front-end damage that was registered as failing to stop for police in a nearby city.

“In the course of the traffic stop the officer found a large quantity of drugs,” reads a released statement by the New Westminster Police Department.

As a result, 12 kilograms of drugs were seized, which the police suspect include fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills, crystal methamphetamine, heroin, and codeine.

“Drug offences negatively impact our communities at many different levels,” Sgt. Justine Thom said in the released police statement. “We want to let criminals know they’re not wanted in New Westminster.”