CanadaB.C. men among 13 charged in massive cross-border drug ring

19:40  08 september  2019
19:40  08 september  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

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B.C. men among 13 charged in massive cross-border drug ring© U.S. Department of Justice Canadian cash seized during the cross-border investigation.
B.C. men among 13 charged in massive cross-border drug ring© U.S. Department of Justice Drugs and cash seized during cross-border smuggling investigation

Several Metro Vancouver men are among the 13 arrested in Canada and the United States for their alleged role in an international drug smuggling operation that moved ecstasy into the U.S. in exchange for cocaine and methamphetamine.

And three of the B.C. accused — Dario Antonio Baruca, Tenny Guon Lim and Vincent Yen Tek Chiu — have also been the subject of drug trafficking investigations on this side of the border.

Baruca was targeted in a 2017 Vancouver Police investigation into heroin and fentanyl trafficking. Charges were recommended but not approved.

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Earlier this year, Lim was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking. He had been nabbed in 2014 with 35 kilograms of heroin smuggled through Vancouver International Airport with the aid of a corrupt Air Canada employee.

And Chiu was one of the subjects of the VPD’s Project Tar probing drug traffickers that allegedly laundered cash through Silver International — the illegal Richmond bank that was the subject of the RCMP’s ill-fated E-Pirate investigation.

Neither Chiu nor his brother Richard were charged in the VPD case. Richard Chiu was found murdered and burned in Colombia in June — a day after he arrived in the South American country for meetings.

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Lim was arrested in prison on the new U.S. indictment and appeared in a Vancouver courtroom Friday, his lawyer Chris Johnson confirmed Saturday.

Johnson, who also represents Chiu, confirmed he is already in custody in California after being arrested while vacationing in Mexico.

U.S. authorities said in a Thursday news release that the alleged drug conspiracy involved hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, smuggled from Mexico through Southern California and into Canada.

Those charged were arrested in Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver. The RCMP and other Canadian police services assisted the FBI and other American law enforcement agencies in the investigation.

Two indictments unsealed Thursday allege those charged were members of related international drug trafficking organizations that worked together to traffic bulk quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin from Mexico to Canada through Southern California in exchange for cash or Canadian ecstasy.

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“The drug trafficking organizations included members of Canadian, Mexican, Serbian, Chinese and Sudanese organized crime groups,” court documents say.

“The defendants allegedly used modified cellular devices with military-grade end-to-end encryption to communicate with each other regarding their drug trafficking business, including the transportation of narcotics between the United States and Canada.”

The devices were “manufactured primarily by Canadian companies that remove most functionality from the phones, leaving only an encrypted email system,” court papers state.

Police seized about 428 kilograms of cocaine, nine kilograms of heroin, 47 kilograms of methamphetamine and 46 kilograms ecstasy — as well as $811,000 in Canadian cash during the investigation.

The U.S. indictment suggests Lim was one of the Canadian leaders of the drug ring, working with an unknown accused nicknamed Orange Tang and a third man dubbed LB to “arrange the purchase bulk quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from the U.S. for importation into Canada and other locations for resale in exchange for bulk quantities of MDMA or for currency.”

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Lim was allegedly involved in the conspiracy throughout 2017 and 2018 when he was on bail on the Canadian heroin trafficking charge.

The indictment says Baruca was “Orange Tang’s” partner in the operation.

B.C. men among 13 charged in massive cross-border drug ring Accused drug trafficker Dario Baruca in undated Facebook photo

“On or about April 12, 2019, in a recorded phone call defendant Baruca told UC2 that defendant Orange Tang had instructed defendant Baruca to find out from UC2 how much cocaine he could provide to Orange Tang’s organization,” the court documents say.

“Orange Tang assured UC2 that defendant Baruca was his partner who operates the organizations drug trafficking business in Vancouver.”

In early 2018, Chiu was also meeting unwittingly with undercover police and others who were co-operating with U.S. law enforcement “to coordinate the exchange of cash and cocaine.”

On Jan. 21, he asked for 150 kilos and offered a $100,000 down payment two days later. The cash was handed over by a Chiu associate in Burnaby on Feb. 1, 2018, the indictment says.

There were other meetings throughout the spring and summer of 2018 and concerns expressed when some of the drugs were intercepted by police.

At one point, Chiu demanded that his money be returned after police had seized a load.

Chiu was intercepted telling someone that one of the people he had been negotiating with might be working for Drug Enforcement Administration.



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