A Richmond man has been sentenced to seven years in jail for drug trafficking – including large amounts of fentanyl – after an investigation which began in 2014.
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According to court documents, the case began in October 2014, when the VPD began investigating the drug trafficking activities of the man – identified as Raymon Singh Ranu – along with others.
Police began surveillance of a home located at 3653 East 27th Avenue, as part of the investigation and observed “persons and vehicles coming and going from the property.” Surveillance cameras were installed showing the perimeter of the home and the ‘feed’ from those cameras was monitored.
The surveillance also recorded Ranu’s vehicle, a grey Range Rover at the house on 47 of the 57 days of surveillance, and Ranu himself at the home on 45 of the 57 days.
At the same time surveillance around the East 27th Avenue house was taking place, the police introduced an undercover officer, Mr. M, into the investigation.
“He developed a persona who claimed to work in the Northwest Territories and would come to Vancouver on his days off to buy heroin and fentanyl to sell up North,” wrote the judge in the case, Judge Nancy Phillips.
Court records state that after the undercover officer “feigned a drug deal in the presence of a taxi driver, Mr. Khan, a co-accused, the driver said he knew someone who would be better to deal with, and offered to introduce Mr. M to that person.”
Ultimately, this person turned out to be Ranu.
“On occasion, drugs were provided to the officer by Mr. Ranu,” court documents state. “On other occasions, someone else in the taxi handled drugs or money while Mr. Ranu was in the vehicle, or by someone else after Mr. Ranu had negotiated a deal with the officer. ”
Two search warrants on the same day
Then, on February 17, 2015, a search warrant was executed at the East 27th Avenue home and a large quantity of drugs were found inside, as well as two pistols and an extended ammunition magazine. No one was in the home at the time of the search.
That same day, the VPD executed a search warrant at #87-9566 Tomicki Avenue in Richmond, and this time, Ranu was in the home.
During the search of the Richmond home, investigators found $2,400 in marked bills, a set of keys, – one of which granted access to the East Vancouver home — and six bundles of cash totalling $17,010 next to a container with a wallet in which there was photo identification of Ranu, who was arrested that day as well.
In her sentencing of Ranu, Phillips said she wanted to “highlight” a number of findings from the undercover operation.
She wrote that on December 18, 2014, Khan introduced the undercover officer to Ranu. The officer testified in court that “he and Mr. Ranu discussed prices and the ins and outs of the heroin trade.”
Phillips also wrote that the two men also discussed type, price, and quantity of pills.
“A more powerful form of the drug”
“Mr. Ranu suggested Mr. M. was looking for ‘Oxy 80s’ and said they were sold in batches of 1,000 for $10-$13 per pill. Mr. Ranu told Mr. M. that ‘black fentanyl’ was a new, more powerful form of the drug,” she wrote.
On January 16, the undercover officer met with Ranu again and “Ranu recommended the purchase of low-quality heroin to encourage people to buy pills instead,” the judge wrote. “Later that evening, Mr. Ranu directed a male in the taxi to hand the officer a small plastic bag and the officer handed the man $16,040.”
The bag was later determined to contain 1,003 fentanyl pills and 28.5 grams of heroin.
Then, on January 25, 2015, the undercover officer placed an order with Ranu for an ounce of heroin and 1,000 pills, according to court documents.
“In the audio recording in the taxi on this date, the undercover officer asked Mr. Ranu for advice on how to deal with the cash from the sale of the drugs,” wrote Phillips. “Mr. Ranu advised him to launder the money through casinos. Mr. Ranu said his fentanyl supplier drops off 10,000 pills at a time for him and he re-loads with another 10,000 when a batch sells.”
“Not a low-level drug distributor”
In determining the sentence, Phillips wrote that Ranu has a criminal record with two related convictions.
The 34-year-old “knew how powerful fentanyl was and he actively encouraged the undercover officer to get his customers to switch from heroin to fentanyl for monetary reasons,” she wrote. “He preyed on persons who are dependent on drugs with the social cost and human suffering that conduct entails.”
Additionally, Phillips wrote that the “quantity of the drugs involved show Mr. Ranu was not a low-level drug distributor,” and that he was the “prime negotiator with the undercover officer in the fentanyl and heroin sales.”
Ranu also “had a taxi on hand for his use,” the judge wrote. “He had a large quantity of cash in his Richmond residence. These things are demonstrative of a level of success in the drug trade. He made clear he knew how to launder the proceeds of crime in casinos, another matter of concern to the community.”
Ranu was also “observed regularly in the DTES (Downtown Eastside) a place where the use of drugs is notorious,” she said. “His presence in the DTES was something Judge Arnold-Bailey flagged as a concern in 2007.”
In her sentence, Phillips wrote that she accepts that Ranu has used the time he has been out on bail on the current charges to settle into a “pro-social” existence.
“His compliance on bail for four years suggests he is trying to live a law-abiding life,” she said. “In the circumstances, I find a sentence of seven years in jail appropriate for the trafficking charges and the counts of possession of fentanyl and heroin for the purpose of trafficking.”