FSOC investigation from nearly a decade ago continues to haunt organized crime
B.C., Federal Serious and Organized Crime
2023-03-06 08:30 PST
File # 2014-181
A BC RCMP Federal Policing investigation into organized crime from nearly a decade ago continues to yield results.
After importing 30 Kg of cocaine on a million-dollar power yacht into BC in 2014, Joseph Thomas, and Bradley Wise of Vancouver Island were arrested by the Vancouver Island BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) Major Projects team. Following the arrests, the FSOC team launched a criminal probe into an organized crime group associated to this drug operation.
Joseph Thomas pleaded guilty to his role in the case, and was sentenced to serve 3 years and 6 months in prison. Meanwhile, Bradley Wise was later arrested in the United States for the events described below and has since been incarcerated in a U.S. prison. Although still serving his sentence in the U.S., Bradley Wise continues to be the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for his role in the case.
Over the next two years, the Vancouver Island based FSOC criminal probe continued to expand, and eventually developed into a large scale transnational organized crime investigation, spanning across multiple jurisdictions within Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and South America. Quickly growing in scale and complexity, the joint force international investigation included 12 wiretap authorizations, and over 500 other judicial authorizations necessary for gathering evidence from deep inside the sophisticated, and heavily insulated criminal network which included the decryption of previously impenetrable PGP encrypted devices.
BC RCMP FSOC received incredible cooperation in Canada from a number of agencies including the Victoria Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-BC (CFSEU-BC), Corrections Canada and the Civil Forfeiture Office-BC.
In a remarkable demonstration of international cooperation, partners assisting the BC RCMP FSOC investigation included Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Peruvian National Police, The Peruvian Coast Guard, the Panama Express North strike force, Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, French Customs Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago Transnational Organized Crime Unit, and the Joint Inter Agency Task force South.
Over the next several years, the Vancouver Island based transnational organized crime investigation resulted in the disruption and dismantling of numerous criminal networks across a number of international jurisdictions. This included the additional following results from associated FSOC Major Projects enforcement actions:
- The capture, arrest and return of an escaped Canadian who had been serving a life sentence for murder, Norman Gilbert Riel, who was arrested on an INTERPOL Red Notice in Peru, and subsequently returned to Canada.
- Seizure of half of a pound of cocaine in Fort St John, BC.
- Arrest of a Canadian, Simon Peter Danielson, who was found on board a sailing vessel with 251.5 kilograms of cocaine, in the Caribbean. Danielson was alleged to have offloaded several
balesof cocaine prior to interdiction, and wiretap evidence that showed the load to be 600 kilograms of cocaine, that was destined for Eastern Canada. On January 12, 2017, Danielson received a 10-year prison sentence in Florida, and has since been returned to Canada on an International prisoner transfer.
- Disruption of the importation of 860 kilograms of cocaine destined for Vancouver Island. A sailboat with two Canadians on board was awaiting a supply vessel near the Galapagos Islands, when the supply vessel was interdicted by international partner authorities.
- Seizure of 18 kilograms of cocaine, and 2 kilograms of heroin from a hidden compartment in a semi truck at Post Falls Idaho, U.S., that was destined for Canada.
- Seizure of 36 kilograms of MDMA from a hidden compartment in a semi truck at the Sumas-Huntington border crossing destined for the United States.
- Seizure of 1 kilogram of fentanyl in Nanaimo, BC.
- Arrest of two Canadians, Bradley Kenneth Milford Wise, and Emerson James Collins Rome, on board a sailing vessel containing 200 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 50 kilograms of cocaine, destined for Vancouver Island. When approached by authorities for a marine interdiction near Washington State, Wise and Rome set the vessel ablaze, before jumping into the ocean. They were convicted, and served 30 month sentences for their roles in setting the vessel ablaze. In relation to the drug offences, on August 1, 2019, Wise was sentenced to serve a 15.6-year prison sentence, and on January 8, 2020, Rome was sentenced to serve 11.5 year in prison.
- Seizure of 1 kilogram of fentanyl, and 1 kilogram of methamphetamine in Surrey BC.
- In November, 2016, the final arrests and searches related to this investigation took place in Nanaimo, Surrey, Burnaby, and Vancouver BC. These searches resulted in the further seizure of 25 kilograms of drugs, 11 kilograms of which was fentanyl. Over $2,000,000 in cash, a hand gun, and an
abduction kitwere also seized. The Civil Forfeiture Office of BC’s involvement in this matter led to the forfeiture of $2,199,501.28 by Nicholas Michael Lucier.
- The majority of this project is now concluded; further assets, cash and properties associated to the criminal networks are still in the court process with the BC Civil Forfeiture Office and cannot be commented on further.
A/Insp. Glen Breckon, Island District -BC RCMP FSOC Major Projects Operations Officer stated,BC RCMP FSOC Major Projects teams consist of federal law enforcement professionals who are specially trained in conducting highly complex, and long-term transnational criminal investigations. The success of this, and its associated investigations, demonstrate our steadfast commitment to aggressively pursuing organized crime networks within, and beyond our borders.
If you have information about a crime and wish to report it, you may contact your local police agency, or report it anonymously by calling BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Cpl. Arash SeyedMedia Relations Officer
Federal Serious & Organized Crime (FSOC)
14200 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, B.C. V3T 6P3
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