A 51-year-old Pemberton resident will face charges for conspiracy to import drugs, as an investigation continues into a 12 tonne hashish seizure.
Vancouver RCMP have charged a total of 14 people in connection with the seizure, described as the largest of its type in British Columbia history. The initial arrests occurred Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 2:10 a.m. off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Three vessels involved in the case, the Ansare II, Miss Terri and the alleged "mother ship" the Blue Dawn, have been seized. A 30-metre coastal troller, the Blue Dawn was brought in at Fanny Bay, off the coast of Vancouver Island.
An additional 2.8 tonnes of hashish were discovered Monday in a search of the Blue Dawn. The hashish was discovered in coffee wrappers.
Russ Grabb, Vancouver RCMP media relations officer, said the vessel was Canadian registered, belonging to the brother of one of the accused.
All those involved have been charged with importing to Canada a controlled substance. All have also been charged with two other charges under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, and further charges are anticipated.
The ongoing importation investigation began 16 months ago, when RCMP officers in Halifax, members of a coastal watch program, were notified that residents of B.C. had bought the Blue Dawn and were embarking on a venture that failed to make any economic sense.
When the Blue Dawn sailed out of Halifax last fall, RCMP kept an eye on it as it sailed across the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and across the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia as it crossed the South China Sea into the north Pacific on its way to the West Coast.
The RCMP investigation began 16 months ago in co-operation with the Vancouver Island detachment, the Greater Vancouver Drug Section, Canada and U.S. customs and the Department of National Defense, the IRS, DEA, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service were also involved. Some of the Canadian officers involved volunteered up to five weeks of their time on the case.