Montreal man arrested in drug bust must wait for co-accused: judge

Rosie Mullaley
Published on September 6, 2013
Tan Tai Huynh. — Photo by Rossie Gillingham/The Telegram

A Montreal man accused of committing his crimes with others should be tried with the others, a Crown prosecutor told a judge Friday.

Tan Tai Huynh — a 42-year-old suspected of being involved in a major drug operation in St. John’s last March — was back in provincial court Friday.

His lawyer, Stephen Orr, told the judge his client wanted to enter not-guilty pleas to some of his charges.

However, Judge Lois Skanes said that because Huynh is jointly charged with several other people, he is not permitted to have an individual trial if any of the others want one trial.

“I have not met with this situation before, but I believe it has to be severed,” Skanes told Orr.

In order to do that, she said, he would have to take the case of Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Crown prosecutor Trevor Bridger indicated he would not consent to having the case severed.

“There’s no way of doing it without significant prejudice to the Crown,” Bridger said.

“(These arrests) were the result of a nine-month police investigation that involved three wire taps.”

Huynh  faces 12 charges, including five counts of trafficking in illegal drugs, as well as counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, laundering proceeds of crime and possessing property obtained by a crime.

Bridger said he understands Huynh is in custody and if he has concerns of the delays, there are remedies he can pursue at another date.

The judge recommended Huynh return on Sept. 18, when the cases of the others are scheduled to be back in court.

The others charged are Alex Prefontaine, 31, and Alexandra Tanase-Toder, 24, both of Quebec; Rodney Noseworthy, 36, of Mount Pearl; Uriah (a.k.a. Ray) Alcock, 28, Charlie Noftall, 35, and Stephen James McNeil, 24, all of St. John’s; and Frank Whalen, 50, of Northwest Brook.

Only Huynh and McNeil were denied release.

All eight were arrested following the drug bust in March, which involved marijuana, cocaine and another unidentified drug.

RCMP officers discovered 25 kilograms of a white powdered substance they suspected was bath salts — packaged in 50 baggies — in the fuel tank of a pickup truck in

St. John’s.

However, after analysis at the Health Canada lab in Ottawa, the substance was identified as Phenacetin, which is often used as a cutting agent for cocaine and is prohibited under the Food and Drug Act.

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