8 arrested in BC for running criminal network of Drugs, weapons and Gang-related Murder planning

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The main suspects of this investigation are Michael Manpreet Johal, Richard Sen, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Michael David Rast, and Kevin Moebes. They have been charged with numerous drug and weapons related offences. One of the suspects Michael Johal was also charged for his alleged involvement in a gang-related murder plot.

SURREY, BC: After an 18-month investigation, the BC RCMP have arrested 8 people who were running an organized crime network across the cities of Surrey, Richmond, and Delta and Vancouver and one of them was allegedly involved in plotting the murder of a rival gang member.

Police recovered illegal arms and ammunition, millions of dollars worth of counterfeit pills and toxic drugs under this investigation. The investigators were also able to uncover a gang-related murder plot.

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, commending the work of multiple law enforcement organizations across BC during this investigation, said, “This significant seizure has kept millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs from reaching our communities. Further, by arresting the individuals, these agencies have disrupted violent gang conflicts, helping to keep people safer from dangerous criminals in our province.”

The main suspects of this investigation are Michael Manpreet Johal, Richard Sen, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Michael David Rast, and Kevin Moebes. They have been charged with numerous drug and weapons related offences. One of the suspects Michael Johal was also charged for his alleged involvement in a gang-related murder plot.

On February 21 and 23, investigators conducted a coordinated series of raids across the cities of Surrey, Richmond, and Delta; and arrested Richard Sen, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Kevin Moebes, and Michael David Rast. In addition to the drug and weapons charges.

This multijurisdictional transnational organized crime investigation was initially launched in September of 2022, which led to 11 search warrants being executed.

The major multi-agency enforcement action spanned across the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, and Surrey; and resulted in significant seizures of numerous types of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills, multiple firearms, cash, electronic devices, large quantities of precursor chemicals, and multi-kilograms of other illicit substances. It also uncovered a sophisticated pill pressing operation at one of the homes in South Surrey, with evidence of large-scale polydrug production activities that involved the mixing of fentanyl and its analogues, into counterfeit pharmaceutical pills.

The analysis of the seized pills also revealed the alarming presence of carfentanil in most of the pressed pills. Carfentanil is a powerful synthetic opioid used as a tranquilizing agent for large animals such as elephants. Carfentanil has 100 times the toxicity of Fentanyl and 10,000 times that of morphine. Due to its lethal level of potency, there is virtually no way, even in a controlled laboratory setting, to safely cut and dilute Carfentanil for use in the illicit drug trade.

The seizures from all locations yielded a total of 356,000 counterfeit polydrug pills that included Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, OxyContin, and Oxycodone. The vast majority of the pills also contained carfentanil, and a mixture of methamphetamine, Benzodiazepine, heroin, and MDMA.

In addition to the seized counterfeit pills, FSOC investigator discovered 4 illegal firearms, over 1,500 rounds of ammunition, and large quantities of precursor chemicals that seemed to have been prepared for mixing and pill pressing.

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.

During the early stages of the investigation, it also became apparent that numerous members of this criminal network were known gang members involved in the gang conflict that has spread across BC, and beyond.

This was further validated by evidence linking one of the suspects, Michael Manpreet Johal, to a murder.

As the FSOC investigation broadened in scope, it also connected the suspects to an ongoing, yet separate investigation into the activities of an overlapping organized crime network, that was being conducted by the Abbotsford Police Department. The subjects of this investigation included overlapping members of the same criminal network, as well as rival gang members who were allegedly involved in similar offences.

“The details of these multifaceted and intertwined investigations provide a glimpse into the complex nature, and interconnectedness of organized crime groups. They also highlight the role of organized crime in fueling the ongoing toxic drug crisis in BC, and the dangers of counterfeit medication laced with potentially lethal carfentanil, that seem indistinguishable from genuine pharmaceuticals,” said A/Superintendent Jillian Wellard, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime.

If you know anyone who may be struggling with addiction, you can seek assistance through the BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service Line at 1-800-663-1441