Drugs, weapons, gang-related murder plot: Police in B.C. arrest 8 people in joint operation

Eight people have been arrested and drugs- and weapons-related charges have been laid after an 18-month-long investigation in the Lower Mainland.

Eight people have been arrested and drugs- and weapons-related charges have been laid after an 18-month-long investigation in the Lower Mainland.

The BC-RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) and Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) have been working together since September 2022, when the probe was launched. The Abbotsford Police Department and other partner agencies were also involved in the overall investigations.

Raids were conducted in Surrey, Richmond, and Delta this week as part of the joint operation. They followed the execution of 11 search warrants in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, and Surrey in March 2023.

At that time, investigators say hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills, weapons, cash, electronics, precursor chemicals, and kilograms of other illicit substances were seized.


Drugs and chemicals seized in the Lower Mainland as part of an 18-month-long joint investigation by the RCMP, IHIT, and other partner agencies.
Drugs and chemicals seized in the Lower Mainland as part of an 18-month-long joint investigation by the RCMP, IHIT, and other partner agencies. (Courtesy RCMP)

The probe also “uncovered a sophisticated pill pressing operation at one of the homes in South Surrey,” with police saying there was evidence of what’s described as “large-scale polydrug production activities” involving mixing fentanyl and its analogues with the counterfeit pills.

Police say some of the pills also contained an “alarming presence of carfentanil,” which is explained as being far more toxic than fentanyl and morphine.

“As a result of these investigations by RCMP federal policing and IHIT, we have kept millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs from reaching our communities and disrupted the ongoing, violent gang conflict that has been jeopardizing the safety and security of British Columbians,” RCMP Chief Superintendent David Teboul said Friday.

‘Gang-related murder plot’

According to Teboul, several suspects were identified as organized crime associates.

“One of the men was allegedly found by federal investigators to be implicated in a gang-related murder plot, which initiated a parallel investigation by IHIT leading to his arrest and a charge of conspiracy to commit murder,” he said of Michael Manpreet Johal. This charge was laid in connection with a shooting in Burnaby last year, IHIT says. On Sept. 16, 29-year-old Gagandeep Sandhu of Abbotsford was found shot to death in a car in the parkade of Northgate Village Shopping Centre on North Road and Still Creek Avenue.

Johal, Richard Sen, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Michael David Rast, and Kevin Moebes have all been identified by police as “the main suspects.”

Meanwhile, three suspects were arrested by Abbotsford police.

With files from Cecilia Hua.

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