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Posts Tagged "months"

16Aug

Overdose deaths in B.C. decline in first six months of 2019

by admin


This June 2016 photo provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shows printer ink bottles containing carfentanil imported from China, in Vancouver.


The latest figures from British Columbia’s coroners service show fewer people are dying from illicit drug overdoses and there has been a decrease in the number of deaths related to carfentanil over the past two months.

The service says 73 people died of suspected illicit drug overdoses in June, a drop of 35 per cent compared with 113 for the same month last year.

The service says fentanyl was detected in more than four out of every five deaths in 2018 and during the first six months of this year.

The detection of carfentanil peaked at 32 deaths in March, but the service says there was a decrease in the number of deaths related to this synthetic opioid in May and June.

Overall for the first six months of 2019, there were 538 suspected overdose deaths from illicit drugs, down from 763 for the same period last year.

The service says males accounted for 78 per cent of all suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths for the first six months of 2019.

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2Aug

Ucluelet mystery: Hells Angels behind murder of two sailors 15 months ago

by admin

UCLUELET — The small craft harbour here in this stunning spot on Vancouver Island’s west coast is a hub of activity.

Tourists from all over the world board sport-fishing charters and whale-watching boats to check out the rugged coastline. Commercial fishermen tend to their vessels. And visitors sail in for a day or two on boats based in Vancouver, Victoria or farther away.

But all is quiet on the Astral Blue — a 14-metre sailboat whose last two crewmen mysteriously disappeared in the mid-afternoon of May 16, 2018.

The bodies of Squamish resident Dan Archbald and his close friend Ryan Daley, of Jordan River, were found less than a month later on a rutted decommissioned logging road about 12 kilometres from the harbour.

Fifteen months have passed and no one has been charged with their murders.

But a Postmedia investigation has found that the two men were likely casualties of a botched cocaine-smuggling job that they were recruited to do by a Lower Mainland biker.


The bodies of Daniel Archbald, 37, and Ryan Daley, 43, were found 15 months ago, near Ucluelet.

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RCMP Supt. Sanjaya Wijayakoon, who oversees the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, told Postmedia that the police investigation is still extremely active.

“They are absolutely continuing to investigate both of these deaths. Right now, they are in the process of analyzing physical and digital evidence. They are still speaking to potential witnesses and they are trying to figure out a time line leading up to both Daley and Archbald’s deaths,” Wijayakoon said in a recent interview.

Key to that time line is figuring out what the two men did between their landing here on Sunday, May 13 — Mother’s Day — and when they made a final eerie appearance on the harbour security camera three days later, lugging heavy duffel bags out though the parking lot.

Wijayakoon said investigators still need the public’s help to put together all the pieces of the puzzle.

“I know my guys are still hoping that people in the public are able to come forward and that something triggers their memory and they come and talk to us. We are still hoping for that,” he said.


The 14-metre Astral Blue has been moored at Ucluelet’s small craft harbour since May 13, 2018 when its two crewmen arrived from Panama. Boat owner Dan Archbald and his friend Ryan Daley disappeared three days later and were found murdered in mid-June. of 2018

Kim Bolan /

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The Astral Blue looks much as it did when it arrived here. The deck is strewn with yellow, red and blue plastic containers. There’s a small rusted-out barbecue tipped over near the stern. A rubber dinghy is upside down over the cabin.

Some fibreglass on the starboard side is damaged. There is no indication of anything untoward.

The white and blue sailboat, built in Taiwan in 1979, was registered with Transport Canada on July 25, 2016, listing its home port as Vancouver, despite then never having landed in Canada.

The boat’s owner remains a B.C. company called Astral Ocean Expeditions Inc.

Corporate records obtained by Postmedia show Archbald and a friend registered the company in B.C. on May 10, 2016. Its address is listed as a Richmond lawyer’s office.

The friend, who asked not to be identified, told Postmedia that he owned only a one per cent share of the company and had no direct involvement with the purchase of the Astral Blue.

“Technically, I suppose I’m an owner,” he said, adding that the boat is really owned by Archbald’s widow, who is trying to sell it.

He said he and Archbald had talked for years about running a charter business on the West Coast.

“I am also a sailor and if I had the opportunity to do some trips, it would have been great,” he said. “But it wasn’t meant to be a business I was running.”

He confirmed that as he understood it, the boat was purchased in Ecuador, then moved to Panama where it was moored until Archbald and Daley began their fateful eight-week journey last year.

“I wasn’t even tracking it,” the friend said.

He would have been surprised if Archbald had got mixed up in a drug-smuggling operation, he said, though he admitted that is now the rumour circulating around Squamish and here in Ucluelet.

“I have talked to the police a few times. I didn’t have much to offer them,” he said. “Dan was one of my better friends and I miss him a lot.”

Archbald, a 37-year-old father of two, sometimes worked in construction. And sometimes he worked in the film industry.

Sometimes he was “tight for money,” the friend said, adding that he did not know Daley, a 43-year-old former Squamish resident.

Messages left for several relatives and friends of each man asking for comment for this story were not returned.


The remains of Dan Archbald and Ryan Daley were found in mid-June on E Road, a rutted decommissioned logging road off of the Pacific Rim Highway that is barely more than a trail.

Kim Bolan /

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Postmedia has learned that the pair agreed to sail from Panama to Canada with a load of cocaine, believed to total several hundred kilograms. The person behind the smuggling operation is a full-patch Hells Angel, the sources said.

As the men got closer to the B.C. coast, they encountered a U.S. government vessel and panicked. They dumped most of their illicit cargo overboard.

The problem is that they kept some of the cocaine for themselves without telling the person who hired them. Their plan was to dump it at the last minute if they saw anything suspicious as they approached Ucluelet, the sources said.

While authorities didn’t intercept Archbald and Daley, and the remaining cocaine, when they arrived in Ucluelet, associates of the Hells Angel did.

Postmedia has learned that Hells Angels Chad Wilson — a friend of the person behind the cocaine shipment — was tasked with taking care of “the problem” in Ucluelet. Wilson, who was murdered last November, was on Vancouver Island at the time that Archbald and Daley went missing, sources confirmed.

Wijayakoon, the RCMP superintendent overseeing the investigative team, wouldn’t comment specifically on the information obtained by Postmedia.

“My guys are looking at all avenues and it is very, very active still,” he said.

Retired Mountie Pat Convey is all too familiar with the situation in which Archbald and Daley likely found themselves.

When he was a senior member of the RCMP’s Vancouver Island drug squad, he investigated similar cases along the coast here where drugs were smuggled aboard sailboats and fishing vessels. Organized crime “absolutely” sees marine transportation as a tried and true method to move drugs, Convey said.

The largest bust came in February 2001 when U.S. agents intercepted the Western Wind in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off southern Vancouver Island. The fish boat carried more than two tonnes of cocaine destined for Canada.

Boat owner John “Phil” Stirling and three crewmen were arrested and turned over to the RCMP. But they were never charged despite the record drug haul.

“As far as contraband, it was the biggest,” Convey said of the Western Wind.

Stirling continued to sail in troubled waters for years afterwards.

“He is a pretty infamous old bandit as far as bringing stuff in,” Convey said.

In May 2006, Stirling and four others were arrested again — this time here in Ucluelet — after police found $6.5-million worth of marijuana aboard a 47-metre fish boat registered to Stirling. The men were all charged with drug-related offences, but all counts were later stayed.

The Americans captured the notorious B.C. skipper off the coast of Colombia in 2011. His sailboat carried 381 kilos of cocaine. He pleaded guilty in 2013 in Florida and was sentenced to seven years. Less than a year after his 2018 release, Stirling, now 65, was found alone on another vessel off the coast of Oregon this past April. The boat carried 28 seven-gallon jugs containing liquid methamphetamine. He goes to trial in Portland later this month on drug smuggling charges.

Convey said that once someone agrees to sail a shipment of drugs for organized crime, they are responsible for any loads lost — meaning they usually have to continue transporting the criminal contraband to pay off the debt.

“You will be told that whether you like this or whether you don’t like this, you are going to go do this,” Convey said. “If you don’t comply, your chances of survival are not good.”

Like Archbald, Stirling would register a company in B.C., then purchase a vessel in the company’s name. He once told a Province reporter that the record Western Wind shipment was done for the benefit of some B.C. Hells Angels.

Convey said even people without criminal records are willing to take the risk, hoping for a big payoff. Maybe they think they can get away with it just once.

“There is a lot of money involved,” he said. “Just the investment put into it for purchasing the drugs is a large amount of money. So it is not something where one individual would just go down there and pick up a load and come up here and distribute it. It is all taken care of a long time before they set sail from here as to what they are going to do, what their plan is. And also who is going to be involved along the way.”

Sometimes a relatively small vessel carrying cocaine will sail right into a harbour in a place like Ucluelet, which doesn’t have a Canada Border Services Agency post.

And sometimes it will be a “mother ship” operation “where they will come up and they will be met offshore, right out in the international waters, by off load boats that will come right up and meet them and then distribute (the drugs) to several different places or one place depending on what they contracted,” Convey said.

“I have been out of the game for awhile, but I don’t see anything changing significantly. I got involved in it as far back as the 70s and it didn’t change a lot even in the 2000s when I finally retired.”

Stirling is not the only “bandit” using the open seas to smuggle narcotics into Canada.

In March 2010, Vancouver Island commercial diver Scott Pederson and Mexican citizen Vincente Serrano-Hernandez transported 1,001 one-kilogram bricks of cocaine from Panama to Port Hardy via Ecuador aboard the sailing vessel Huntress. Both were convicted and sentenced to 16 years.

Both have since been released. Parole documents obtained by Postmedia say that Pederson now owns two food carts, which prompted some concern from the parole board in July 2017.

“While there may be some concerns with respect to the idea of a convicted drug importer operating a business that is based primarily in cash and therefore would be a good front for drug trafficking or money laundering, there is no reliable and persuasive information indicating you are involved in any illegal activity,” the board’s written decision said.

As for Hernandez, he continued to deny knowledge of the tonne of cocaine he sailed into B.C. waters, claiming he was “to be paid $2,000 to accompany the lone captain to Canada and that once in Canada you would be offered a job,” the parole board noted in 2016. “In Mexico, you lived in the Sinaloa region which is well known for drug cartel activities. You have denied any involvement with gangs or Mexican cartels.”

He has since been deported.

The drive from the small craft harbour through the Ucluelet-Tofino junction then east along the Pacific Rim Highway to the entrance to E Road takes less than 15 minutes at the posted speed limit.

The killer or killers would have driven through the dense coastal forest, past Lost Shoe #1 Creek, then Lost Shoe #2 Creek before turning right on the gravel road where Archbald and Daley were dumped.

After about 300 metres, the unmarked logging road is barely more than a trail, suggesting the suspects would have had to turn around in the only small clearing to escape back to the highway. A woman walking her dogs found the remains of Archbald and Daley four weeks later.

The double murder — an extremely rare occurrence in this part of B.C. — has not really set the locals on edge. They don’t feel a strong connection to the case. They didn’t know the victims. They don’t believe that any suspects are in their midst.

The last person slain here was Shirley Ann Taylor-Seydel, who was bludgeoned to death on the docks on July 6, 1991 by fisherman Steven Hillairet, a stranger with mental health issues. There is a small picnic area in her memory overlooking the harbour.

The Astral Blue remains moored here for now. A brokerage company has been contacted and the boat, estimated to be worth about $100,000, will soon be sold.

At the Cap’n Hook, a unique shop selling fishing tackle and cappuccino, patrons sip their coffee, look out over the harbour and speculate about whether the boat will go for a bargain price.


Caleb Cameron, who was born and raised in Ucluelet, owns Cameron Ocean Adventures – a whale watching and sports fishing company.He says locals assume that the Astral Blue was smuggling drugs at the time the two crewmen disappeared and were later killed.

Kim Bolan /

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Caleb Cameron, who was born and raised in Ucluelet, is down on the docks every day operating his whale watching and sports fishing company — Cameron Ocean Adventures.

“When the murders happened, it seemed like a very isolated incident. There have been drug busts here in the past but not anything like this,” he said. “It seemed like a major case — a larger case than we usually see — because of all the police resources that were brought here.”

He didn’t see the two men at all between May 13 and 16, though he noticed the Astral Blue after it docked as a boat he wasn’t familiar with.

“It was fairly shocking. From the rumours that had been circulating that it was a drug boat that came up from Panama, it made sense,” he said. “I do have some people come down and ask about it. It is known on the dock as `the drug boat.’”

Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noël said the murders have had “zero impact” on the community of 1,800.

“There is nobody up and arms, racing to the RCMP detachment saying that there’s a problem. It is something very isolated and local to that event,” Noël said this week. “It is just isolated to those certain groups and those individuals. No one in the community is feeling threatened any way.”

Ucluelet residents still “are just curious to know what happened,” the mayor said.

“Everyone has got their own theory so it will be interesting to see what actually comes out of it.”

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blog: vancouversun.com/tag/real-scoop

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7Jan

Alzheimer Awareness Months targets stigma around disease

by admin


Lisa Glanville, left, is the daughter of and caregiver for her mother Ollie, who has dementia.


Arlen Redekop / PNG

One of the biggest stigmas around dementia is that you’re going to develop the disease if you grow old, according to seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

For January’s Alzheimer Awareness Month, Mackenzie said the biggest stereotype she wants to break down is the belief that the majority of British Columbians 85 and older have dementia. They don’t.

“If you look at age 85 and over, 20 per cent do have a diagnosis of dementia — but four out of five don’t,” Mackenzie said Monday.

When it comes to nursing homes, most people might think that every resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s. In fact, about 35 per cent don’t and two-thirds have only mild cognitive impairment, she said.

Mackenzie said dementia is a spectrum. Someone who is diagnosed with dementia may be fully competent in some areas but not in others. In some cases, a person may never go on to develop full dementia.

“It’s a journey,” she said.

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In B.C. in 2018 about 70,000 people were living with dementia. By 2033, that’s expected to increase to almost 120,000.

Experts don’t believe the rate of dementia is changing. Instead, the numbers are increasing because there are more older people living longer than ever before.

The aim of this year’s Alzheimer Awareness Month is to eliminate the stigma around the disease by changing attitudes. Events culminate on Jan. 31 with a two-hour open house starting at 3 p.m. at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Resource Centre, 301 — 828 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver.


Lisa Glanville and her mother Ollie enjoy a walk in the Vancouver sunshine.

Arlen Redekop /

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One family dealing with the affects of dementia is that of Lisa Glanville and her mother Ollie, 82.

Glanville said her mother worked for years as the property manager of Vancouver apartment buildings she owned after her husband died. She also worked as a bartender at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano.

Glanville said she’s seen stigma directed against her mother when she went to an estate planner and explored options for nursing homes. She was told that it didn’t matter because her mother’s dementia meant she wouldn’t remember anything.

Glanville said the most challenging times for her was before her mother was officially diagnosed. When she found out that her grandfather died of Alzheimer’s, she wondered if her mother had it. Initially, her mother passed tests measuring her cognitive abilities.

But Glanville noticed that things were starting to go awry. One day, she discovered that her mother’s online accounts were locked because someone had unsuccessfully tried to access them.

On another occasion, her mother showed her a cup with five of her molars in it. She’d never told her daughter she had any problem with her teeth.

“I thought: ‘Whoa, what is going on here?’” Glanville said.

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The clincher was a visit to the dentist.

“The receptionist said to me after my mom went in. ‘Can I give you some advice?’. I said ‘sure.’ ’Have you got enduring power of attorney yet for her Alzheimer’s?’”

Since Glanville is an only child, her mother’s well being become her responsibility. As part of her efforts to seek help, she started attending monthly Alzheimer caregivers support group meetings at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

“The validation is incredible,” she said.

Morgan Donahue, support and education coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Vancouver Resource Centre, said she believes that there is a lot of shame associated with a diagnosis of dementia.

She said the stigma can even discourage people from getting a diagnosis or even telling people they have been diagnosed.

In a survey by the Alzheimer Society in 2018, one in five Canadians said they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia; one in five admitted to using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia.

“I’ve heard so many family members say they wish their family member had cancer because there is so much more of an understanding and acceptance of cancer than this disease,” Donahue said.

An early diagnosis can mean the person is displaying few, if any, symptoms at first.

“This disease is often so invisible, as with other mental health challenges.”

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Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is aiming to address stigma around Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Arlen Redekop /

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28Nov

1 of 3 who viciously beat man with autism freed after months behind bars

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One of three men found guilty of attacking a man with autism at a Mississauga bus terminal is set to walk free on Wednesday.

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, was given a 12 month sentence today at a Brampton court after previously pleading guilty to aggravated assault. However, he was given credit for time served in custody, so he has already done his time.

At the court appearance, Dhami apologized to the victim and his family, although said he knows “it won’t be accepted.” 

Dhami and two other men were captured on security camera punching and kicking the 29-year-old victim repeatedly as he sat on a stairway last March.

All three men were arrested in connection with the incident, although it’s unclear when the others —  Jaspaul Uppal and Parmvir “Parm” Singh Chahil, both 21 — will be sentenced.

Dhami, who moved from Surrey, B.C., to Ontario to pursue work as a truck driver, will be on probation for two years and banned from possessing prohibited weapons for life.

His lawyer declined to speak with reporters.


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