Organized Crime Probe Led To B.C. Raid, RCMP Say

Organized Crime Probe Led To B.C. Raid, RCMP Say
Posted by CN Staff on December 29, 2003 at 19:26:04 PT
By Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail Update 
Source: Globe and Mail 
A weekend police raid on the offices of two senior members of the B.C. cabinet stemmed from information gathered in the course of an unrelated investigation into organized crime, an RCMP spokesman said Monday.“Sometimes in the course of a complex and lengthy police investigation, other related and unrelated information surfaces suggesting possible criminal activity,” Sgt. John Ward told reporters in Vancouver. “This was the case with the RCMP and the Victoria police department investigation into organized crime.”
Sgt. Ward refused Monday to name the focus of the 20-month investigation that led to them raid the offices of Finance Minister Gary Collins and Transportation Minister Judith Reid, but he stressed that there are no elected officials in their sights.Sgt. Ward said that police in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria have arrested nine people in the last week as part of a drug investigation. He refused to specify how Sunday's raid was connected to the larger investigation.A published report in the Vancouver Province said the searches involved records thought to be in the offices of Dave Basi, a ministerial assistant to Mr. Collins and activist in both the federal and B.C. wings of the Liberal party, and Robert Virk, an assistant to Ms. Reid.Police have alleged no wrongdoing against either Mr. Basi or Mr. Virk and stressed Monday that no one has been arrested in connection with the legislature raid and that no charges have been laid.All of the employees in these ministers' offices are political appointees, given their jobs through cabinet orders-in-council. A legislature spokesman said Monday that Mr. Basi's appointment had been rescinded, effectively firing him. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman said that both men were “disciplined” Monday.Premier Gordon Campbell, who promised to clean up government after former premier Glen Clark resigned in disgrace, is in Hawaii for a vacation and has no immediate plan to return. A government spokesman said that cabinet ministers will keep the Premier informed.Police swooped in shortly before noon Sunday, choosing to act on the quiet weekend between Christmas and New Year's when few political staffers were at work. After searching the offices in Victoria, Mounties seized several boxes of files and correspondence. Sgt. Ward said Monday that the force had also raided the home of one individual, as well as two home offices and a private business. He said that the two ministers whose offices were searched are not included in the investigation and are co-operating with police.He said police had followed strict procedures for handling legislature material and had asked permission from the Speaker before executing the warrants.Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill, in a separate briefing, shed more light on the overall investigation.“The initial investigation that was commenced by the Victoria police and the RCMP related to a drug investigation, an organized crime investigation and a police corruption issue,” he said. “At some point during the course of the investigation, a commercial crime investigation arose and that's what's led us here today.”With a report from Canadian Press Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author:  Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail Update Published: Monday, December 29, 2003 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Article:Police Raids in B.C. Linked To Investigation -- Canada Archives 
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