A pair of Mission men charged in the largest seizure ever of drugs, guns and cash in Ridge Meadows RCMP’s history, have had their challenge to the search warrant dismissed in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 17.
Christopher Harmes and Scott Cashman were charged with numerous drug trafficking charges after search warrants on two residences took place in the summer of 2020; one at the 7400 block of Columbia Street in Mission, and the other at the 12000 Block of Garden Street in Maple Ridge.
Harmes also faces nine weapons charges after police found a fully automatic submachine gun, semi-automatic pistol, other gun parts and several boxes of ammunition.
A total of 72,000 doses of illicit drugs, including 3.5 kilograms of suspected “blue fentanyl” – which is linked to multiple overdose deaths in the Lower Mainland – was seized by police, along with $114,000 in cash.
Their challenge argued the search warrant on the Columbia Street residence, which is believed to be their primary residence, should not have been granted by the judge as there was not sufficient evidence connecting it to criminal activity taking place at the home on Garden Street.
The Crown’s position was that the application for a warrant was based on reasonable and probable grounds when viewed in totality.
The Garden Street home first came to police attention after they were called to the address regarding a deceased male, and noticed approximately 20 glass pipes with white residue on the premises, along with what appeared to be crack rocks and a small bag of methamphetamine.
Later surveillance revealed that individuals were entering the residence for only a short duration: “consistent with drug trafficking from a drug house,” according to the application for the search warrant.
The appeal tried to argue that not enough detail was provided to support that belief, but Justice Martha Delvin was not convinced, as the submitting officer had been a part of the Ridge Meadows RCMP Street Enforcement Unit since 2017.
An informant had also provided information that Harmes was supplying drug dealers in Maple Ridge with cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, and fentanyl through the Garden Street residence, and that he had a gun and lived in Mission.
The appeal argued that the information lacked detail with respect to origin and was not corroborated, but Delvin again disagreed, ruling that it was “both specific and compelling.”
Harmes and Cashman were both observed travelling to and from the two addresses, and often present while large duffle bags were being transported in and out of the properties.
Harmes’ significant criminal record, with his prior drug and firearm offences in 2010, 2012, and 2015, were also taken into account.
“I am satisfied that there was a body of information that was capable of supporting an inference that the Columbia Street residence was connected to and associated with the drug trafficking operations occurring at the Garden Street Residence,” Delvin said.
The charges against Harmes and Cashman are still before the courts.
– with files from Neil Corbett