B.C. men arrested in drug sting to have sentencing hearing next week

They were two of 13 people charged in Operation Razorback

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on June 27, 2014
Peter Blok-Andersen (second from left) and Ben Strongitharm of British Columbia were in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Friday to set dates for their sentencing hearing.
— Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

A sentencing hearing for two men who were key players in a massive drug operation that spanned across the country is set for next week in St. John’s.

Ben Strongitharm and Peter Blok-Andersen were back in Newfoundland Supreme Court Friday.

Their lawyers, Bob Buckingham (for Strongitharm) and Jack Lavers (for Blok-Andersen), and Crown prosecutor Brenda Boyd agreed to scheduled the hearing for July 4.

Earlier this week, a jury found Strongitharm and Blok-Andersen, both from British Columbia, guilty on drug charges.

The two were found guilty of committing a serious offence for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization and possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Strongitharm was also found guilty of a second charge of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, as well as trafficking.

They were arrested and charged  in January 2010 during the undercover RNC and RCMP drug investigation known as Operation Razorback.

The RCMP Richmond detachment, the Victoria Police Department, Saanich police and RCMP Vancouver airport crime unit also assisted.

Police seized more than 672.5 grams of cocaine, a small amount of marijuana and $466,075 in cash.

Also seized were six vehicles, brass knuckles, a knife, a collapsible baton, drug-processing paraphernalia, jewelry, a money counter, a laptop computer, a stun gun, a BB rifle and a vacuum sealing machine.

Strongitharm and Blok-Andersen were two of 13 people  — five from this province and eight from B.C. — who were arrested in connection with the operation.

The five from this province were Christopher Mark Webster, Mary Alexandra English, Bradley Kavanagh, Martin Tulk and Jamie Coady.

Four of them pleaded guilty to drug charges and were sentenced. Webster got a 27-month jail term and Kavanagh got 18 months behind bars, while English and Tulk were each handed two-year conditional sentences.

Coady’s case is still before the court.

The B.C. men who were charged received the most severe sentences.

Of the eight from that province — besides Strongitharm and Blok-Andersen — all were convicted, except one.

Julian Strongitharm, Peter’s brother, was acquitted earlier this year.

The other five pleaded guilty and were handed prison terms — Evan Brennan-Smith (seven years), Zachary Hill (six years), Jacob Hauge (5 1/2 years), Ricco Zanolli (five years) and Andrew Green

(1 year and three months). In all, Zanolli got 10 years in jail, as he was also convicted of weapons and extortion charges in relation to other incidents in B.C.


Twitter: @TelyCourt