The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said Zale Coty and Jacob Cavanagh, both of Kamloops and Shawn Carlisle, of Falkland, have been charged with a total of 13 counts.
Three men linked to a puppet club of the Kelowna Hells Angels are facing a number of drug charges after a lengthy investigation by B.C.’s anti-gang agency.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit announced Wednesday that Zale Coty and Jacob Cavanagh, both of Kamloops, and Shawn Carlisle, of Falkland, have been charged with a total of 13 counts, including conspiracy, possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine, and illicit cannabis sales.
“The investigation that began in 2017 resulted in the seizure of over four kilograms of drugs, a handgun, over $330,000 in cash, and arrests that helped prevent the expansion of an outlaw motorcycle support club for the Kelowna Chapter of the Hells Angels in the Kamloops area,” Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton said.
Coty was a member of the Throttle Lockers support club when his Kamloops gardening business was one of three places raided by investigators in November 2019. He was a close friend of Chad Wilson, a member of the Hells Angels Hardside chapter, who was murdered in November 2018.
Also found during the searches was a Throttle Lockers vest, Hells Angels support gear, ammunition for the .40-calibre handgun, brass knuckles, and various items associated to the drug trade, including digital scales, cash counting machines and score sheets.
Federal prosecutors finally approved charges in the case on June 28, 2022. All three accused are set to make their first appearance in Kamloops Provincial Court on July 28.
Coty, 53, is facing the most charges — seven — for trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and conspiracy. Cavanagh, 29, is charged with one count of possessing fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, and conspiracy, while Carlisle, 49, has been charged with three trafficking counts and one of illicit cannabis sales.
At the time of the investigation, the Throttle Lockers had been trying to expand in the Interior. Hells Angels support clubs have the approval of the more established biker gang to operate, attend Hells Angels events, and expand their reach in the province.
“When the Kamloops RCMP detachment started this project in 2017, there had been a number of violent offences related to organized crime, including a high-profile homicide, assaults, and other serious events related to the drug trade,” said Supt. Sydney Lecky, head of the Kamloops RCMP. “Intelligence was indicating that members of the Throttle Lockers were active in Kamloops and were considering expanding their presence and control by opening a clubhouse in Kamloops.”
Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Supt. Duncan Pound said the collaborative investigation “not only unveiled alleged drug trade activity in the Kamloops area, but also gave CFSEU-B.C. an opportunity to disrupt the expansion of a Hells Angels support club.”
“We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners across the province to target those who pose the greatest risk to public safety due to their involvement in gang-related activities,” Pound said.
The Throttle Lockers are now virtually defunct in B.C., Houghton said.
While police didn’t provide specifics of the investigation Wednesday, some details are laid out in a November 2021 civil forfeiture lawsuit naming Coty and Cavanagh.
The lawsuit by the director of civil forfeiture says police made several undercover drug buys from an “employee” of Coty’s Sunshine Gardens Greenhouse Superstore between April 2018 and November 2019.
Two of the purchases were for kilograms of cocaine — one on Oct. 2, 2018 where the officer paid $65,000, and another on Nov. 7, 2019 where the payment was $50,000, the lawsuit said.
“The undercover police officer provided the buy money in a green Save-On-Foods bag,” the director said. “Shortly thereafter Z. Coty left Sunshine Gardens with the bag, drove to a nearby alley, and provided the bag to an individual in a Ford F-150.”
The government agency wants $320,952 that was seized at Coty’s business forfeited, as well as $12,800 found at Cavanagh’s then-residence.
The director noted that “$14,000 of the cash located at Sunshine Gardens was buy money from one of the undercover scenarios.”
Coty filed a statement of defence in February 2022 where he denied “being a member of the Throttle Lockers outlaw motorcycle gang” despite several photos once posted on his social media page of him wearing the gang’s vest.
He also denied drug trafficking and said his hydroponic supply store “often sells expensive equipment for cash” and that the money seized came from “legitimate business.”
Source: Vancouver Sun
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