NORTH BATTLEFORD – A lawyer for a man arrested in September in a $55 million organized crime drug bust told court Monday that he’s waiting for more disclosure from the federal Crown and asked for an adjournment.
Defence Logan Marchand appeared by phone and told the North Battleford Provincial Court that he needs the additional disclosure before his client, 39-year-old Russel Ens, can enter an election and plea on drug trafficking charges from a separate drug bust in North Battleford in March.
In September, Ens and Tiajanna Bull, 24, both from North Battleford, were two of 15 people arrested in the cross-border organized crime drug investigation. The investigation resulted in the seizure of firearms, $7 million in property including bank accounts, a $3.5 million home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, two Lamborghinis, a Porsche, classic cars, $200,000 cash, and $55 million in drugs.
Enns was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime. Bull was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The Battleford RCMP Gang Task Force participated in the investigation along with RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigation was led by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team, which is known as ALERT.
In March, Ens was arrested after RCMP raided six properties in the North Battleford area. RCMP officers from the Gang Unit, Crime Reduction Team, and Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team raided the properties on March 18 where they seized 839 grams of cocaine, 37 kilograms of cannabis, seven firearms [one reported stolen], ammunition, drug trafficking paraphernalia and a large sum of cash. Police didn’t specify the amount of cash seized.
In the March raid, Ens, along with Matthew Kennedy, 35, Benjamin Lennie, 32, and Chris Phillip, 44, were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of property obtained by crime. Trevor Kennedy, 48, was charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm and two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm.
Defence Jonathan Bodvarson told the court there is a potential resolution for his client Chris Phillip. Judge O’Hanlon adjourned the matter to Dec. 6.
Defence Kevan Migneault appeared in person for his client Matthew Kennedy and defence Ron Piche appeared by phone for Benjamin Lennie. They elected provincial court trials for their clients and Judge O’Hanlon adjourned their matters to Nov. 28.
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