Eight men have been ordered extradited to the United States in connection with drug trafficking offences that involved filling logs with marijuana in North Okanagan-Shuswap locations.
A BC Supreme Court document regarding committal to the U.S. ordered Shane Donald Fraser, Todd Ian Ferguson, Daniel James Joinson, Darrell Romano, Robert Romano, Ivan Djuracic, Aaron Randolph Anderson and Jamie Daniel Nenasheff to be remanded in custody to await surrender to the U.S.
The 68-page document describes a seven-month investigation in 2006 in which RCMP officers assigned to the “monitor room” listened to more than 200,000 “intercepts” from 14 identified targets.
An overview of the evidence states that from March 2006 to November 2006, a criminal organization with members in Canada and the United States, dubbed by police the Fraser Organization, distributed hundreds of pounds of high-grade marijuana from B.C. to California.
It describes how, on at least nine occasions between March and September 2006, hollowed-out logs were imported into the U.S. by an American citizen who had been convinced to set up a log home business in Southern California that eventually became a front for the distribution of pot.
“Investigation revealed that none of the log truck drivers were aware they were transporting marijuana into the United States,” states the document.
Deep Creek, Vernon, Kelowna and Armstrong are the Okanagan-Shuswap locations mentioned. Ivan Djuracic and Darrell Romano’s address in 2007 was listed as Kelowna. Todd Ian Ferguson, Jamie Daniel Nenasheff and Aaron Randolph Anderson’s address in 2006 was listed as Vernon.
Evidence also stated at least two of the suspects met in Vernon.
Regarding trafficking, on Sept. 15, 2006, surveillance showed Darrell Romano met with a group of men on Industrial Way in Armstrong at the “workshop,” a Quonset hut accompanied by a portable sawmill, several peeled logs and a flat-deck truck.
On Sept. 17, 2006, an orange flat-deck truck drove to a property on Firehall Frontage Road in Deep Creek.
“Djuracic was driving,” states the document. “Slits were clearly visible, lengthwise, on some of the logs. Djuracic and R. Romano unloaded the logs from the flat-deck truck onto an empty flat-deck semi trailer… and then returned to the workshop driving the orange flat-deck truck…
“At 19:02 hours, Nenasheff removed four more logs from the quonset hut and loaded them onto the orange flat-deck truck. At 19:26 hours Djuracic departed in the loaded flat-deck truck.
“At 19:51 hours the flat-deck truck returned to Firehall Property. The four logs were placed onto the semi trailer with the other six logs for a total of 10 logs.
“Between 19:55 and 20:10 vehicles registered to Anderson, D. Romano and Nenasheff arrived at the Firehall Property. Several males, unidentified due to darkness, worked in the area of the flat-deck semi trailer, then returned to the workshop before departing.”
On Sept. 18, 2006, after the logs left the property on Firehall Frontage Road, continuous surveillance was carried out until they were unloaded in California on Sept. 22, 2006.
In the warehouse in California, the court document states, 10 25-foot logs with hollowed-out compartments were found inside the warehouse.
“Nearby three stacks of suspected marijuana were laid out on the floor. The packaging was clear and the marijuana was visible through the packaging.”
The document states a total of 735.2 pounds of marijuana, including packaging, was found.
Although a trial has not yet taken place nor have the accused been found guilty, in her reasons for judgement regarding extradition, Madam Justice Watchuk found that, although there may be weaknesses in the evidence, “the totality of the evidence affords some evidence upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could convict each of the persons sought for conduct corresponding to the Canadian offences of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and trafficking in a controlled substance.”
This means the evidence meets the standard for extradition.