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Six Islanders face charges after probe of drug-trafficking network tied to Hells Angels

Four of the six are from the Courtenay-Comox area
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An investigation began in 2021 into an alleged organized-crime drug-trafficking network with ties to members of the Hells Angels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Charges have been laid against six people from Vancouver Island — including four from the Courtenay-Comox area — after an investigation begun in 2021 into an alleged organized-crime drug-trafficking network with ties to members of the Hells Angels.

The investigation by B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which targets gangs, resulted in the charges being approved Thursday.

They followed execution of multiple search warrants at locations around the Island and several arrests in January 2022.

The six people facing charges include:

• Jeff Scott Pasanen, 59, from Comox. Charges include one count committing an offence for a criminal organization and three counts of trafficking cocaine and possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

• Randall James King, 45, from Campbell River. Charges include one count of committing an offence for a criminal organization and two counts of trafficking cocaine and possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

• Shawna Lynne Leblanc, 48, from Comox. Charges include one count of committing an offence for a criminal organization contrary and four counts of trafficking cocaine and possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

• Peter Bruce Billie, 37, from Comox. Charges include one count of committing an offence for a criminal organization and two counts of trafficking a controlled substance and possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

• Jonathan Erin Clifford, 41, from Courtenay. Charges include one count of participating in the activities of a criminal organization and one count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

• Rhys Tyler Vernon Bolton, 34, from Victoria is charged with one count of trafficking cocaine.

All will be appearing in court at a later date.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit has also secured charges against three Duncan residents stemming from a 2020 investigation into drug trafficking on the Island.

That led to search warrants being executed at two Duncan residences in March 2021. Charges have now been laid against 43-year-old Jason Thomas Conrad, 45-year-old Margaret Rose Conrad and 38-year-old Nicholas Doug Gollinger.

Each is charged with possession of fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.

The day after the Duncan search, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Detachment Cmdr. Chris Bear said police had made a “substantial seizure” to help deal with the community’s ongoing opioid crisis.

jbell@timescolonist.com