R. v. RAH [Provincial Court of Alberta, Airdrie – October 2021]

SUMMARY: As a consequence of a shot being fired through the wall of a home in Airdrie, the RCMP were summoned to the scene and an investigation led shortly thereafter to their attendance upon the residence of RAH. When the police entered the residence, not only did they locate the firearm from which the stray shot was fired but a large quantity of fentanyl and cocaine. Consequently, RAH was arrested and charged with the following offences:  Possession of a firearm …

R. v. LAA [Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Red Deer December 2021]

SUMMARY: In the spring of 2019 the RCMP commenced an investigation into the alleged drug trafficking activity of LAA. The RCMP believed that LAA was transporting cocaine at the multiple kilogram level from Calgary to central Alberta where he was supplying local high-level dealers. Ultimately, police investigation resulted in substantial seizures including approximately $100,000.00 cash, firearms, 1000 fentanyl pills, a brick of cocaine, half a brick of methamphetamine, 300 grams of ecstasy, 16 grams of heroin, etc. etc. etc. LAA …

R v. RSS [Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary – October 2022]

At the conclusion of a 1-week trial RSS was found NOT guilty of ALL charges including:  Possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking . Possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.  Possession of fentanyl.  Possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. Possession of proceeds of crime.    SUMMARY: The police received information from a confidential informant that RSS was trafficking in kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine in the City of Calgary. The police launched an extensive …

R. v. GGG, [ABQB, Calgary – March 2021]

GGG was charged with possession of cocaine and methamphetamine in relation to the largest drug seizure in the history of the Calgary Police Service. The “bust” drew national media attention including coverage in the Toronto Star. The following media headlines speak for themselves in terms of the significance of the seizure and gravity of the ensuing prosecution. GGG retained Patrick Fagan to defend this most serious drug prosecution as the Crown was seeking a lengthy term of imprisonment in the …

Judge rejects claim of police terror tactics

Police manhandling of a suspected drug dealer’s passenger was not a “terrorist tactic,” a judge said yesterday in rejecting a Charter application. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Earl Wilson said the “dynamic takedown” conducted by police in arresting [the] alleged gang member was lawful. Wilson rejected a suggestion by defence lawyer Pat Fagan the conduct of TAC team members who arrested [the accused] and his passenger fell into the “realm of police-state terrorism.” In written arguments to support [the accused]’s ...

Judge stays drug charges after Crown breaks deal

A judge Monday stayed charges of trafficking in cocaine and marijuana against a Calgary man because the Crown reneged on an agreement to do so two years ago. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Chrumka agreed with defence lawyer Pat Fagan's argument that the charges against the accused, which arose from an investigation into drug dealing in Meadow Lake, Sask., in 1997, were an abuse of process. ``The agreement envisioned him not being charged with conspiracy and trafficking in cocaine ...

Seized money to pay for legal defence

An alleged member of a drug gang can use more than $32,000 seized in a major RCMP bust to pay for his legal defence, a judge ruled Thursday. The money was seized by local RCMP as part of a massive drug bust last September involving 300 officers from Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary and led to the arrest of 42 suspects. Some of the cash was also seized Aug. 23,1999. Altogether, $290,000 in cash and 1.6 kg of. powder and ...

Cop couldn’t pick

The lead investigator in a heroin trafficking case couldn't pick the suspects out of a photo lineup - but his civilian partner could, court heard yesterday. RCMP Const. Len Pizzacalla admitted he was unable to identify the accused, 26, and the co-accused, 23, when he viewed two lineups 11 days after purchasing 56 grams of heroin. But Sgt. Ross Shapka later testified the Crown's star witness, Cau Tien, selected both accused as being present when Pizzacalla made the buy. Pizzacalla ...

Police marijuana case goes to pot

A police bid to sniff out a marijuana grow operation went up in smoke yesterday when a judge ruled a search warrant invalid. Justice Vaughan Hembroff agreed with defence counsel Pat Fagan that the information used to obtain the warrant from a justice of the peace contained inaccuracies. But Hembroff said "youthful enthusiasm," not dishonesty on the part of police investigators was what led to the fatal breach of the accused's rights. The Court of Queen's Bench judge threw out ...

Accused gets cash back

A destitiute farmer whose only asset is a condemned shack can use cash that the Crown alleges are crime proceeds to pay for his defence, a judge ruled yesterday. Justice Jack Waite granted an application by an accused marijuana grower to have $5,950 in seized money placed in his lawyer's trust account. The money was a seized by RCMP officers under proceeds of crime legislation during a Jan. 26, 1998, raid on a southeast Calgary home. The accused, 33 told ...

Not guilty of woodland pot

A Hay River man was found not guilty of a trafficking charge laid after eight kilograms of marijuana were seized in a wooded area of town last November. Judge Bernadette Schmaltz didn’t feel there was enough evidence to convict the accused, 45, following a trial in territorial court on June 24. The accused’s lawyer, Patrick Fagan, said the essence of the Crown’s case was that the accused had a wood-cutting license for the area where the drugs were found, and …

Man cleared in drug bust

A Mexican man charged in connection with the largest cocaine bust in Calgary's history was found not guilty in Court of Queen's Bench Friday. The accused, 29, will now deal with Canadian Immigration officials in his quest to return to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after Justice Scott Brooker acquitted him on a charge of importation of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. Brooker ruled the Crown failed in its attempt to link the accused to ...

Drug bust just scratches surface, police say

A record $12-million cocaine bust at Calgary International Airport has put only a minor dent in this affluent city's continuing love affair with the addictive white powder, police and drug addiction workers say. ``We're always busy,'' said Calgary RCMP drug section Staff Sgt. Birnie Smith. ``I don't think (use) has increased but it hasn't slowed down. ``We're an affluent city and there's certainly coke use here,'' he said. ``There is a lot of cocaine trafficking going on here -- but ...

Case of mistaken identity?

A Mexican allegedly involved in Calgary's largest cocaine-smuggling bust may not be who he claims to be. That's what Crown prosecutor Dan Misutka hopes to prove if Justice Scott Brooker decides today to permit a witness to testify via video conference from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The same request by Misutka was turned down by the judge earlier this week during the Court of Queen's Bench trial of the accused. Misutka renewed his application and requested a six-week adjournment when he ...

Witness to talk via video linkup

A Mexican witness in a cocaine-smuggling case won't have to worry about braving Canada's cold winter, the Crown said yesterday. Prosecutor Dan Misutka said he will be applying to have the unidentified witness testify via video link from Puerto Vallarta, sparing him a trip to the Great White North. But the defence lawyer in the case isn't exactly warming up to the idea. "It's difficult enough to cross-examine a witness through a translator - you lose that spontaneity that's often ...

Strange twist in smuggling trial

A cocaine-smuggling suspect is not the man he says he is, a prosecutor charged yesterday. And Crown lawyer Dan Misutka said he can prove the real person is sitting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. But the lawyer for the man Misutka is prosecuting said the best the Crown can establish is there is someone else with the same name as his client. "Mexico is a very large country," defence counsel Pat Fagan told Justice Scott Brooker. "It would be unusual if ...

Prosecutors hope to link drug cases

A trial began Thursday for a Mexican man alleged to be involved in the smuggling of 60 kilograms of cocaine into Calgary, the largest such bust in the city's history, two years ago. Crown prosecutor Dan Misutka is attempting to link the accused, 30, to illicit drugs seized from luggage of another Mexican couple who arrived on an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 2, 2000. The accused, believed to be the pickup man at Calgary International Airport, ...

Customs officer details drug find

Newly issued passports and vague plans led customs officials to be suspicious of a Mexican couple arriving in Calgary, a court heard yesterday. And those suspicions turned out to be founded -- when a search of three suitcases uncovered 60kg of cocaine, a smuggling trial was told. A Canada Customs employee said she searched the luggage of the accused and found they contained little in the way of clothing. But she said the three suitcases contained five boxes of what ...

Mexican man awaits verdict in cocaine case

The fate of a Mexican man accused of being involved in the largest cocaine smuggling case in Alberta history is in the hands of a judge. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Scott Brooker told court he will give his verdict on May 10, following final arguments Friday by Crown prosecutor Dan Misutka and defence lawyer Pat Fagan, who represents the accused. He must decide if the accused is guilty of being a party to importing and possession for the purpose ...

Workmen find massive magic mushroom crop

As soon as Calgary police Det. Ryan Dobson walked into the affluent condo tucked into a southwest gated community, moist, earthy air played upon his skin. He knew the source of the pungent air -- manure mixed with a whiff of straw -- was an illegal grow operation, but he wasn't prepared for what he saw as he rounded the corner into the enormous master bedroom. A sophisticated, intricate skeletal framing system was hooked up in the darkened room and ...