Judge frees cocaine case suspect

The suspected "greeter" in the biggest cocaine bust in Alberta history walked away from a Calgary courtroom yesterday a free man. Justice Scott Brooker ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the accused was waiting at Calgary International Airport for a drug-smuggling couple. "I'm very happy for (being) free to go," the accused, who lives in Puerto Valletta, told the Sun in an exclusive interview. "Now my next step is to try to go home," he said outside court following ...

Canada won’t allow visits with accused, Mexican envoys say

Mexican diplomats trying to help three people arrested in Calgary last Saturday on cocaine smuggling charges say they are being thwarted by Canadian bureaucracy. ``We haven't been able to find out whether they are Mexicans or not,'' said Mexican consul-general Guadalupe Albert in Vancouver. ``If they are Mexicans, they will have the protection accordingly. They haven't contacted us -- neither the three, not the police nor the government.'' Ricardo Rangel Corona, 45, of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Evelia Barreto Robles, 27, ...

Drug proof disputed

The Crown may have bundles of seized cocaine, but it has no evidence to prove a suspected drug smuggler was waiting for its arrival, a defence lawyer argued yesterday. "A lot of dope, no evidence," Pat Fagan said in summing up the prosecution case against his client. "There are suspicious circumstances," the lawyer told Justice Scott Brooker. "But a man cannot be convicted on one suspicion or a thousand suspicions." Fagan's client faces charges of importation and possession of cocaine ...

Mushroom bust magical

City cops have smashed what's thought to be the biggest magic mushroom grow and trafficking operation in Calgary's history. Officers from District 2 backed up by the drug unit raided a home on Prominence Path N.W. yesterday after receiving a tip, where they seized 865 bags of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms. "These mushrooms were growing on a sophisticated rack system inside the master bedroom," said Det. Ryan Dobson. " This was an aggressive operation, and we conservatively estimate the value ...

Defence lawyer pulled into drug case

Medicine Hat defence lawyer Randall Pick may have to testify in a cocaine trafficking case. Pick was the lawyer when a guilty plea was entered to a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking May 11. The accused was then released on bail until his sentencing, which was to have taken place in provincial court Tuesday. Instead, the accused's new lawyer, Patrick Fagan of Calgary, asked to have the guilty plea overturned, saying Pick had given the accused an ...

Officer linked man to drug smuggler

A 30-year-old Mexican man was arrested and charged in connection with the city’s largest cocaine bust because he had booked a hotel room for a fellow Mexican caught with illicit drugs. RCMP Sgt. Grant MacPhee of the RCMP said under cross-examination by defence lawyer Pat Fagan that the accused volunteered the fact he had reserved a room for Ricardo Rangel Corona at the airport hotel. MacPhee said the accused told him he was waiting Sept. 2, 1999, for his mother …

Missing defendant arrives as marijuana trafficking conspiracy trial begins

A missing defendant showed up and one of the five co-accused was set free Tuesday, as a marijuana trafficking conspiracy trial got underway in Saint John. Dwayne Noel Ireland, who had car trouble in Quebec on his way from Calgary to the trial, slipped into his seat Tuesday after the judge was already on the bench. As the seven lawyers were identifying themselves for the court record, Mr. Ireland sat down. When his lawyer John Henderson said, “my client is …

Tip helps cops in coke bust

CALGARY (Sun Media) – Acting on a rare tip possibly supplied by a criminal rival, city police say they seized a haul of cocaine worth up to $800,000 destined for Calgary streets. The anonymous tip led police to a car they stopped May 9 in the 300 block of Country Hills Blvd. N.W. In the trunk, they found 8 kg of cocaine that, if sold by the gram, would be worth $800,000, said the Acting Staff Sergeant. “The tip could …

Drug dealer gets house arrest

A 29-year-old man is under house arrest at his Blackie area home after pleading guilty at Okotoks Provincial Court on Sept. 21 to trafficking cocaine. Federal Crown prosecutor BAxter Lee told Judge R.J. Wilkins that on April 9, 2006, HIgh River RCMP, after a substantial investigation, was issued a search warrant for [the accused’s] residence. At the time [the accused] was living in a residence on Scott Close in the hamlet of Blackie. Lee said RCMP found 22 grams of …

Record $4-million seizure

A four-month investigation has led officers to the largest cocaine bust in city history. Nearly $4 million worth of cocaine was pulled from two homes and vehicles in south Calgary, as well as nine firearms, about $90,000 in cash and a pill press used to make ecstasy, the Calgary Police Service said Wednesday. “This was a record seizure for us,” said Insp. Rob Williams. “We (have) 38 bricks of cocaine, each weighing in excess of a kilogram.” The drugs were …

Tac team rappels into suite – Police seize hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs, handguns and vehicles

By SARAH KENNEDY, CALGARY SUN With some TAC team members rappelling down a 27-storey building and others storming through hallways, a luxury condo was busted by police who seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs, handguns and vehicles. The bust — the result of a three month investigation — happened Thursday evening in a condo at 920 5 Ave. S.W. where three people were arrested. Inside the upscale suite, cops seized $143,000 worth of cocaine, $11,000 worth of …