Joint Investigation With VicPD Leads To Firearms and Drug Charges, males from Calgary, Surrey and Vancouver charged

Victoria, BC – A joint investigation between the Victoria Police Department and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC) has now led to criminal charges against three men.

In June 2020, Victoria Police Department’s “Strike Force” unit identified an organized crime group trafficking fentanyl in Victoria. As the investigation progressed it was determined the crime group had ties to the Lower Mainland. In August 2020, acting on this information, CFSEU-BC’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ATTF), and Victoria Police Department’s Strike Force collaborated to begin a joint investigation dubbed “Project Juliet”.

Over the course of this investigation a total of nine search warrants were executed, six on residences in four jurisdictions and three on luxury vehicles.

Project Juliet
Project Juliet

Items seized during the investigation includes;

– 20 firearms

– Large quantities of suspected fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy

– $385,390 Canadian cash

– 3 luxury vehicles

On February 8, 2022, the Public Prosecution Services of Canada approved criminal charges against three men for firearms and drug related offences:

Brian James Balla, a 34-year-old male, originally from Calgary now residing in Victoria, (8 charges approved):

– 5 counts have been approved under Section 5(2) CDSA for Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance

– 3 counts have been approved under Section 5(1) CDSA for Trafficking in a Controlled Substance

Vu Bao Nguyen, a 34-year-old male from Surrey (10 charges approved):

– 7 counts have been approved under Section 5(2) CDSA for Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance

– 3 counts have been approved under Section 5(1) CDSA for Trafficking in a Controlled Substance

Brent William Van Buskirk, a 35-year-old male originally from Vancouver, currently in custody (13 charges approved):

– 8 counts have been approved under Section 95(1) Possess a prohibited firearm without authorization

– 2 counts have been approved under Section 92(1) Possess a non-restricted firearm without a license

– 3 counts have been approved under Section 5(2) CDSA for Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance

At the time of his arrest in relation to this investigation, Van Buskirk was on parole for a 2004 murder conviction. Van Buskirk had his parole revoked due to his arrest and is being held in custody awaiting the judicial process.

Balla was taken into custody February 9, 2022 in Victoria and is awaiting a bail hearing.

Nguyen was taken into custody this morning, February 10th, and will remain remanded pending a hearing.

“Working with our partner agencies to target and hold accountable those involved in illegal gun crime and trafficking of dangerous drugs is a priority for CFSEU-BC,” says Assistant Commissioner Manny Mann, CFSEU-BC’s Chief Officer. “This joint investigation with the Victoria Police is another example of the joint forces work CFSEU-BC does around the province and of the ongoing effort and commitment that we have made to take potentially lethal drugs off our streets and take guns out of the hands of those who choose to put everyone at risk.”

“I am proud of the work that VicPD’s Strike Force section and CFSEU-BC’s Anti Trafficking Task Force has done together to help target those trafficking deadly drugs like fentanyl – taking deadly drugs and firearms out of our communities,” VicPD Chief Manak said. “In a year where over 2,200 people in British Columbia have died from a suspected illicit drug overdose it is clear that more joint operation work like this must be done to end the deaths.”

CFSEU-BC 

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