Two South Asians among 11 charged with drug trafficking in Richmond RCMP investigation

Wanted: Andrew Weir
Wanted: Andrew Weir
Wanted: Geoffrey Ambridge
Wanted: Geoffrey Ambridge

TWO South Asians, Ashneel Prasad, 30, and Alvin Kumar Sharma, 37, both of Surrey, are among 11 people charged with drug trafficking following a long investigation by the Richmond RCMP Organized Crime Unit (OCU).

The others charged are Patrick Befus, 39, of Victoria, Clay Sidney Crawford, 35, of Delta, Catherine Jane Pepper, 37, of Richmond, Travis Pete, 24, of Richmond, Christopher Lance Silva, 32, of Surrey, and Jo-Ann Spencer, 51, of Delta as well as three others who remain at large and are wanted on arrest warrants: Andrew Weir, 30, of Surrey, Jason Requena-Hurlburt, 21, of Vancouver, and Geoffrey Ambridge, 30, of Calgary.

In June 2014, the OCU targeted a drug line operating in Richmond that was allegedly selling cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Over the course of eight months, a comprehensive investigation ensued in which OCU officers gathered evidence against a number of individuals allegedly operating this drug line. This line utilized a “dial-a-dope” technique whereby drug users would call a central phone number to have drugs delivered.

Police surveillance observed drug trafficking deliveries throughout Richmond and Surrey ranging from residential neighbourhoods to shopping malls and other public venues.

On January 27, search warrants were executed by the OCU at two locations in Richmond and an additional location in Surrey. Officers made a total of eight arrests and seized items including:

* Cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marihuana, and heroin packaged for street sale

* Three vehicles, one of which was equipped with a hidden compartment

* A single barrelled shot gun

* About $56,000

OCU officers gathered evidence against 11 individuals. On March 10, charges were approved by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada against all 11 individuals. They are facing multiple charges including possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, and trafficking in a controlled substance.

“Extensive planning, team work, and dedication all contributed to this successful operation. We are confident that the remaining three will soon be located.” said Sgt. Chin Lee of the Richmond RCMP Serious Crimes Unit.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the three wanted individuals is asked to contact their local police or call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).