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B.C. meth, fentanyl trafficker sentenced to 10 years

Methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl were trafficked in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Vancouver Provincial Court
Atta Ul Waheed Sheikh, 38, said he has "deep regrets" for his actions.

A man who pleaded guilty to trafficking kilos of fentanyl and methamphetamine was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Vancouver Provincial Court Jan. 5.

Fort St. John’s Atta Ul Waheed Sheikh, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in a situation where he was considered to be an executive part of a trafficking scheme to move drugs between Fort St. John and Calgary.

“The motive was greed,” Judge Jennifer Oulton said in accepting a joint sentencing submission from Crown and defence lawyers.

And, she mentioned another aggravating factor.

“We are now in the ninth year of a public health emergency . . . with respect to the opioid crisis,” Oulton said.

The court heard the trafficking reached between Vancouver and Toronto, and 7.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and 4.2 kilos of fentanyl were involved between July 1, 2020 and June 10, 2021.

Oulton said Sheikh’s role was that of an accountant who kept track of sales.

She said the married father of three was a high-ranking member of the scheme, close to an executive member of a national, wholesale drug-trafficking organization.

Police used undercover officers to make buys in the investigation. Officers wore wires but also used wiretaps in the probe.

The guilty plea was a mitigating factor, stated the judge.

"Mr. Sheikh has taken responsibility for these offences,” Oulton said, noting a trial could have taken six weeks.

“I find he does have remorse for these offences,” she said. “These offences are serious and Mr. Sheikh’s moral blameworthiness is high.”

While his family looked on, Sheikh wept as he addressed the court.

“I fully accept my responsibility. I’m not proud of what it is,” he said.

Sheikh said he had “contributed to a nationwide drug issue contributing significant harm to individuals.”

He said he has “deep regrets” for his actions, which have impacted his family “profoundly.”

“I truly believe I can rehabilitate myself and turn my life around,” Sheikh told Oulton. 

Family members took turns hugging Sheikh before he was taken away to begin his sentence.

The investigation

The charges came after a joint investigation between Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) and RCMP Federal Serious Organized Crime.

More than $1.6 million in methamphetamine and cocaine was seized as a result of Project Motor, ALERT said in a June 2022 news release. The 18-month investigation spanned across Canada’s westernmost provinces.

ALERT alleged the drug trafficking network had its origins in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, and fanned out across Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

Police said the investigation originated in Medicine Hat and came on the heels of a series of large drug busts in southeast Alberta in early 2020.

“ALERT was able to trace back the drug supply, and leverage criminal intelligence, in order to develop a clearer picture of the criminal organization believed to be responsible,” police said.

In addition to the arrests, 11 firearms and $82,000 cash were seized during searches in Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort St. John. A total of 37 charges were initially laid against Sheikh and three other men.