Friday, 28 October 2011 17:00

Man denied bail following major drug bust in Swift Current

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By Matthew Liebenberg
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After a two-hour postponement to have more time to reach his decision, Judge L.A. Matsalla denied a bail application by one of three men who are facing various charges as a result of a drug investigation by law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S.

Judge Matsalla delivered his verdict in a Swift Current court room on Oct. 28 in the bail hearing for Troy Swanson, 25, from Coldstream, B.C..

Swanson is facing four charges dating back to December 2009 for his alleged involvement with what the RCMP has described as a criminal organization that imported large quantities of drugs from the United States into Canada through unmanned border crossings in rural southwest Saskatchewan.

“This is an unprecedented case,” Judge Matsalla said as he read from his written decision on the bail hearing application.

He concluded that any rational and reasonable member of society would lose confidence in the administration of justice if Swanson is released. He therefore ordered that the accused should remain in custody until his next court appearance on Nov. 16.

Swanson's legal counsel and a Crown prosecutor presented lengthy arguments to court during the bail hearing on Oct. 26. Information presented at the hearing is subject to a publication ban.

The charges against Swanson and three co-accused resulted from a multi-agency drug investigation by law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S. 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.

Swanson has been charged with the following offences under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act – importation of cocaine, possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, participating in a criminal organization and conspiracy to import cocaine.

The Swift Current court appearances of two other accused took place on Oct. 26. Brock Palfrey, 25, from Silverstar, B.C., and William Larsen, 51, from Coldstream, B.C., appeared 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 on Nov. 7.

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