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Full-patch B.C. Hells Angel jailed three years for having proceeds of crime

Police found more than $160,000 in Courtenay James Lafreniere's home during a drug trafficking investigation.
A Hells Angel vest was seized by police at as they executed search warrants at Courtenay James Lafreniere's home.

A B.C. full-patch Hells Angel has been sentenced to three years in prison for having possession of property obtained by crime — more than $160,000 in cash found in his home during a complex police drug trafficking operation.

On Sept. 27, Courtenay James Lafreniere pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of crime before Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Laura Bakan.

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) earlier said Lafreniere is a member of the club's Haney chapter.

He was sentenced on Feb. 29 by Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Paul Dohm.

Defence lawyer Joven Narwal told Dohm that Lafreniere denied allegations he was involved in a large-scale drug trafficking operation.

Narwal said the only thing being admitted to with the guilty plea was having knowledge and control of the funds.

“Mr. Lafreniere would not be pleading guilty to an offence of his trafficking of controlled substances,” Narwal said.

Dohm said Lafreniere made a bad choice to get into the business he did.

Before a sheriff led him away on Thursday, Dohm told him, “Don’t get into trouble. Don’t associate with the wrong people. Put a good release plan together.”

The case

The case has been a complex one since charges were first announced in December 2022 after CFSEU-BC executed 12 search warrants at locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan.

Four men, including Lafreniere, have now pleaded guilty to multiple drug trafficking, conspiracy or possession of property obtained by crime charges for offences said to have taken place in Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Vernon between September 2020 and July 2021.

“This was a complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation affecting several communities,” CFSEU-BC spokesperson Sgt. Brenda Winpenny said at the time. “Illegal drugs, including fentanyl, is an extremely dangerous drug that is proving to have widespread consequences in our province.”

Police seized about $650,000 in Canadian currency and about two kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of MDMA, one kilogram of fentanyl, 200 grams of ketamine, 10 kilograms marijuana and 16 kilograms of a drug-cutting agent.

Also seized were three rifles, a shotgun, three prohibited magazines, ammunition, body armour, two vehicles and a cocaine press. Inside one residence, police seized a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club vest and various items of Hells Angels support clothing.

Seized at Lafreniere’s home, Dohm heard, were a taser prod, brass knuckles, and a tank of nitrous oxide.

The other accused and convictions

Jonathan Louis Lutar was charged with being part of a criminal organization that included Allan Beatima Arcangel, Matthew Shaw, David Oppenheim and others. Court documents alleged Lutar instructed people to engage in drug trafficking for the benefit of the organization. 

Arcangel has since died and charges against him were abated.

Lutar pleaded guilty to trafficking on Sept. 25, CFSEU-BC said.

Lutar, Lafreniere, Arcangel, Shaw, Oppenheim and others were charged with trafficking at the direction or for the benefit of the organization made up of any three of Lutar, Arcangel, Shaw, Oppenheim and others.

Lutar, Lafreniere, Arcangel, Shaw and Oakley Lain Charest, 34, were charged with conspiring together to traffic in controlled drugs.

Lutar, Lafreniere, Arcangel, Shaw and Charest were charged with trafficking in fentanyl, carfentanil and cocaine. Court documents show Lutar and Shaw were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

According to Court Services Online, Shaw received a conditional sentence of two years less a day for possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Charest received five years in prison for trafficking in controlled substance and weapons offences.

Lutar’s file is locked because there is a ban on a bail hearing.