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Hearings begin for B.C. men accused in US-Canada drug trafficking probe

The group is accused of moving drugs across B.C., Washington and California.
Drug-Bust-Cash
Some of the $380,000 seized by police as they executed search warrants in a drug case involving flow of drugs between California, Washington and B.C.

Four men at the centre of a "high-level MDMA trafficking and cocaine importation investigation" have begun to have their cases heard in pretrial hearings in B.C.

The group is accused of moving drugs across B.C., Washington and California.

Lower Mainland residents Martino Calabretti, Daniel Alexander and Zlatko Gavric face charges of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Calabretti and Vincenzo Sansalone—a reportedly full-patch member of the Hells Angels' Haney chapter—also face charges of trafficking in MDMA (ecstacy) and MDA (synthetic amphetamine). Calabretti faces two additional counts of trafficking in MDMA.

It’s expected the court will hear some Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenges as well as a discussion on passport issues, possibly by early February.

The arrival of the case before a Vancouver Provincial Court judge on Jan. 18 came after a complex investigation led by federal RCMP officers based in Kelowna

RCMP federal serious and organized crime investigators executed numerous search warrants in March 2018 throughout the Lower Mainland. In total, the search warrants captured 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380,000 in cash. The money was allegedly to be used as a down payment for 18 kilograms of cocaine to be brought into Canada.

More than 200 investigators, several RCMP units and U.S. partner law enforcement agencies were involved.

Court dockets indicate the alleged offences occurred in Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Seattle and San Diego.

Charges were laid in April 2021.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

Twitter.com/jhainswo

— with files from Colin Dacre, Castanet