Golden man charged in multi-million dollar drug bust

A man with ties to Golden has been charged in a major drug bust.

A man from Golden has been charged in a major seizure of drugs in an investigation by both Canadian and United States law officers.

Ronald Charles Learning, aged 28 from Golden, is charged with Conspiracy to Import Cocaine and Conspiracy to export MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy).

In April of 2011, members of the Regina Integrated Drug Unit launched a multi-agency controlled drug investigation in partnership with the United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as well as the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The investigation centred on the importation of large quantities of controlled drugs that were allegedly being imported into Canada and exported into the United States via unmanned border crossings in rural Southern Saskatchewan.

The investigation alleges that cocaine was destined for British Columbia while mass quantities of ecstasy were destined for the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

From each of those destinations, the illegal drugs would then be distributed to communities across Western North America.

Over the October 1-2 weekend, the Regina Integrated Drug unit has conducted several searches in British Columbia as part of this investigation.

Specifically, searches were conducted at the following two BC residences.

The first was in the 9800 block of Pinnacles Road in the community of Silverstar, British Columbia on October 1 at approximately 8:00 p.m.

The second search was conducted on Palfrey Drive West in the community of Coldstream, British Columbia on October 1 at approximately 8:00 p.m.

As part of these searches, investigators have seized over $3500 in cash, documents, and six unregistered firearms.

A 2003 Ford Windstar was stopped, searched and seized in the community of Salmon Arm, British Columbia.

This resulted in the arrest of one of the adults facing charges in relation to this investigation.

Also seized were 30 kg. of cocaine along with 100,000 tablets of MDMA.

The street value of these controlled substances fluctuates greatly and is dependent upon many factors.

The value of the ecstasy would be in the range of 1 million dollars while the cocaine would be approximately 1.35 million dollars.

According to a press release from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Saskatchewan, if these controlled drugs reached their intended destination, there would be considerable harm to communities and individuals.

The following two adult males are also facing charges in relation to these searches and seizures: Brock Ernest Palfrey, aged 25 from Silverstar, BC is charged with Conspiracy to Import Cocaine and Conspiracy to Export MDMA, as well as four counts of Breaching an Undertaking and William Bruce Larsen, aged 50 of Coldstream, BC is charged with Conspiracy to Import Cocaine and Conspiracy to export MDMA.

Palfrey and Larsen will be appearing in Regina Provincial Court on October 3 at 2 p.m. while Learning made an appearance  in BC Provincial Court in Vernon, British Columbia.

In the press release from the RCMP in Saskatchewan many different law enforcement partners were credited with the work put in to assist and contribute to the investigation and the charges and seizures that were announced.

Investigators from the Regina Integrated Drug Unit were assisted by the following law enforcement agencies over the weekend:  RCMP Calgary Drug Section, Greater Vancouver Police Department Drug Section, RCMP South East District Drug Section (Kelowna), RCMP Vernon Task Force, RCMP Prince George Drug Section, RCMP “F” Division Integrated Border Enforcement Team, and “F” Division Integrated Proceeds of Crime.

As mentioned earlier in the release representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the United States DEA have been involved since April of 2011.

Approximately 40-45 police officers were involved in the searches and seizures over the weekend. There will be further announcements in relation to this investigation over the coming weeks.

Although these charges are being announced today, the Regina Integrated Drug Unit is continuing to investigate this matter and they anticipate that more charges will follow in the future.