Thursday, 27 October 2011 16:18

Men remain in custody after court appearances following major drug bust

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By Matthew Liebenberg
Swift Current
Three of the men who are facing various charges as a result of a multi-agency drug investigation by law enforcement groups in Canada and the U.S. made their first court appearances in Swift Current on Wednesday.

The investigation, known as Project FARIL, involved various RCMP units and task forces from three provinces as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Troy Swanson, 25, from Coldstream, B.C., appeared in person for his bail hearing, which involved lengthy arguments by his legal counsel and the Crown prosecutor. Information presented at the hearing is subject to a publication ban.

After listening carefully to the arguments and details about the drug investigation, which was first launched in April 2011, Judge L.A. Matsalla said he would need some time to consider all the facts and the case law that was referred to during the bail hearing. He therefore adjourned the matter until Friday for a verbal decision and ordered that Swanson must remain in custody until then.

Swanson, who was supported by his mother, aunt and girlfriend from Vernon, B.C., maintained his composure through most of the proceedings, but he was overwhelmed by his emotions towards the end.

The appearances by Brock Palfrey, 25, from Silverstar, B.C., and William Larsen, 51, from Coldstream, B.C., took place by videolink from the Regina correctional facility where they are currently in custody. Their legal counsel, who appeared by telephone, both indicated they were unable to proceed with bail hearings until the Crown provides more detailed disclosure. Judge Matsalla granted them an adjournment until Nov. 9 for the matter to be spoken to.

The fourth accused, Ronald Learning, 28, from Golden, B.C., will appear in court in Swift Current Nov. 7.

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