Police obtained wiretap evidence outlining the planning of an alleged gang-related violent crime spree in 2019 that began with a serious assault and ended with a kidnapping, a judge has been told.
Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping in connection with the incidents, which unfolded in early 2019 as Kamloops was in the midst of a gang war that resulted in three people being killed and others injured.
His trial began on Monday (Sept. 21) in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops.
On Feb. 14, 2019, police were called to the Acadian Inn downtown for a report of a home invasion and kidnapping.
According to Crown prosecutor Lindsay Pearce, Mathieson and Justin Daniels showed up at a suite in the motel, armed with handguns and with bandanas covering their faces. She said they took the cellphones of the two women in the room and used them to lure an associate to the suite.
“They waited with their guns until he arrived a couple hours later,” Pearce said.
When the man and a friend arrived, Pearce said, they were hog-tied with electrical cords. Court heard their wallets were taken, as was the truck in which they had arrived.
Pearce said the men then fled in the stolen truck with one of the women from the motel room. They are alleged to have then ransacked the Dallas house of the man they lured to the suite before driving with the kidnapped woman to Kelowna.
Court heard police tracked the cellphone of the kidnapped woman and one of the accused to the group to a Kelowna apartment. The woman was rescued after an RCMP emergency response team boxed in a Honda Civic in Falkland.
RCMP Cpl. Matt Rattee said the Civic was struck by police vehicles on three sides — from behind, from the front and on the drivers’ side. He said officers were taking every precaution given the alleged circumstances.
“My understanding is there was a certain risk inherent with this and there were firearms involved,” he said.
Pearce said wiretap evidence showing Mathieson “planning” the offences ahead of time will be presented during trial, which is expected to last several weeks.
The incident was part of a series of high-profile gang-related violence in Kamloops in late 2018 and early 2019.
Troy Gold, a man with ties to the city’s drug trade, was murdered in October 2018. Five men have been charged in relation to Gold’s death.
Two men, Cody Mathieu and Rex Gill, were gunned down in separate shootings outside hotels on Jan. 23, 2019. Police have said those murders were related to an ongoing gang conflict in the city, but no arrests have been made. Police say Gill’s death may have been a case of mistaken identity.
On Feb. 15, 2019, Justin Glover was killed and Kelly Callfas suffered gunshot wounds to her face in a gang-related shooting in Brocklehurst. Gordie Braaten and Hugh McIntosh have been charged with murder and attempted murder in connect with the incident. Both men are in custody.
The violence stemmed from a vacuum in the city’s drug trade left by the September 2017 murder of Konaam Shirzad, a co-founder of the Red Scorpions gang. No arrests have been made in connection with Shirzad’s slaying near his Guerin Creek home, but prosecutors have said police have “viable suspects.”
Mathieson is being tried alone, but he has two co-accused facing similar charges. Justin Daniels has entered guilty pleas and is slated to return to court for sentencing on Oct. 9, and Robert Rennie has been on the lam since he was granted bail earlier this year. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for his arrest.