North District RCMP Staff Sergeant Geoff Parks' contribution to unraveling a large and sophisticated drug smuggling operation was recognized Wednesday.
Parks, 47, was awarded a certificate of recognition by B.C. RCMP Commanding Officer Craig Callens for helping to track down two alleged money launderers in September 2000 while stationed in Surrey.
It was part of a larger investigation, code-named Project Outer Limits, that saw a large quantity of cash and drugs seized in Moosomin, Saskatchewan. The seized items were tracked back to a couple in Surrey where RCMP seized money and financial records that closed the link, said Parks.
"The report we got is that they were moving money, proceeds of crime, of anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 every 10 days," Parks said.
Project Outer Limits is perhaps best known for a high-seas takedown of a Canadian-registered yacht carrying 1.3 tonnes of cocaine, worth more than $300 million, in 2003. In October 2011, ringleader James Frost of Toronto was sentenced to 16 1/2 years in prison.
Parks was not sure what happened to the two culprits he helped chase down.
"After we did all the seizures and found all that information, it was Regina city police that carried on with the investigation," Parks said and later added hundreds of suspects were being investigated.
It's the second time Parks has received the award. In 2003, he was commended for work that cleared the names of two Prince George men, Parry Dale Murray and Michael Dean Fulljames, who were suspected of murdering a Mackenzie man, Maurice Joseph Seguin Jr., in 1995.
Following a preliminary hearing, Crown prosecution stayed the charges against them after finding that some of the evidence in the case did not meet the standards necessary to go to court.
The case was reopened in 2003 and, with the help of DNA evidence, the two were cleared once and for all, despite accusations by "various unsavoury witnesses," Parks said.
"From their perspective it wasn't too much of an issue to them [Murray and Fulljames] but it was certainly an issue to the police because you've got these two suspects in your file that will stay there until you absolutely rule them out," Parks said.
"If you take someone to trial and you don't clear out those two suspects absolutely, it becomes a huge issue at trial."
Parks has been at North District RCMP's Prince George detachment for 10 years where he continues to work on serious crimes on behalf of the rural detachments.
"We do everything from cattle rustling files and claim jumpings all the way up to serial sex assaults and suspicious missing persons," Parks said.