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B.C. Crown stays charges in trio's drug trafficking cases, new indictment filed

Vancouver Provincial Court proceedings have ended against Richard Sen, Kevin Moebes and Michael Rast.
vancouver provincial court criminal
Vancouver Provincial Court.

A Crown prosecutor May 1 stayed all charges against three of eight men charged in connection with a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Vancouver Provincial Court proceedings have ended against Richard Sen, 52, Kevin Moebes, 44, and Michael Rast.

Judge Harbans Dhillon was given no reasons for the stays.

Public Prosecution Service of Canada spokesperson Nathalie Houle told Glacier Media the provincial information was stayed and a direct indictment against the three was filed.

Their next appearance in B.C. Supreme Court is May 15, Houle said.

Others accused in connection with the case — Jagdeep Singh Cheema, 31, and Michael Manpreet Johal, 32 — had appearances in an adjacent courtroom but their cases were adjourned to May 30.

The initial charges against the five men were the culmination of a multi-jurisdictional, transnational organized crime investigation. The probe resulted in a series of search warrants being executed on March 1, 2023.

Locally, the investigation included work in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond and Surrey.

Police raids Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 led to the arrest of eight suspects.

The cases are spread across three courthouses due to the nature of the charges and police investigations.

The charges included producing and trafficking controlled substances for a criminal organization.

Variously, the men are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil, para-fluorofentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA and/or ketamine and benzodiazepine.

Moebes had also faced charges of allegedly possessing a semi-automatic rifle, a pump-action shotgun and an oversized magazine while not having a licence to do so.

Sen had been additionally charged with allegedly having a pump-action shotgun without a licence.

The Court Services Online database shows Rast and Moebes were released on bail of $10,000 each with $5,000 deposits.

Man gunned down

Johal also faces charges of conspiracy to murder Gagandeep Sandhu. The conspiracy is alleged to have taken place between Dec. 1, 2022 and March 1, 2023.

The alleged target of the murder conspiracy charge was later gunned down in Burnaby on Sept. 16, 2023.

There, RCMP responded to a report of shots fired in the 3400-block of North Road.

Officers arrived on scene and found a deceased man, later identified as Gagandeep Sandhu, 29, of Abbotsford in an underground parkade.

Shortly after, a vehicle fire was reported around Greenwood Street and Bainbridge Avenue. Officers located a black Honda Pilot engulfed in flames.

Johal’s file is in the North Vancouver courthouse. It is, however, locked down in the Court Services Online system for an unknown reason.

Documents allege Johal conspired with a person known a “johnwick7” and others to commit the murder of Sandhu.

Johal is not charged with Sandhu’s killing.

Three others were subjects of an Abbotsford Police Department investigation with links to the RCMP files.

There, Gavinder Steven Siekham, Navpreet Singh Dhaliwal and Anmol Singh Sandhu were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in November 2022 in Abbotsford.

The Metro Vancouver search warrants

The March 2023 searches in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond and Surrey resulted in seizures of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills, multiple firearms, cash, electronic devices, large quantities of precursor chemicals and multi-kilograms of other illicit substances.

Half a million pills could have been created from seized drugs, police said.

The seizures from all locations yielded a total of 356,000 counterfeit polydrug pills that included Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, OxyContin and Oxycodone, police said.

The vast majority of the pills also contained carfentanil, and a mixture of methamphetamine, benzodiazepine, heroin and MDMA, police said.

The seized quantities and makeup of each drug category were: 112,000 counterfeit OxyContin pills containing fentanyl, carfentanil, para-fluorofentanyl and heroin; 7,500 counterfeit Supeudol (Oxycodone) pills containing fentanyl, carfentanil and para-fluorofentanyl; 107,500 counterfeit Oxycocet (generic Percocet) pills containing fentanyl and carfentanil; 23,000 counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine; and 106,000 counterfeit Xanax pills containing benzodiazepines, MDMA and fentanyl.

Investigators discovered four illegal firearms, more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition and large quantities of precursor chemicals that seemed to have been prepared for mixing and pill pressing.

The seized precursor chemicals included 77 kilograms of powder containing fentanyl, 77 kilograms of powder containing benzodiazepines, 12 kilograms of powder containing methamphetamine and two kilograms of powder containing carfentanil.

This raw material could have produced an additional 185,000 fentanyl-containing polydrug pills, 28,000 methamphetamine-containing pills, and 258,000 MDMA-containing pills.

With files from Maria Rantanen