What started as a tip from a confidential informant led police on an extensive surveillance of several Red Deer residences.
Testimony heard in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday from Const. Josh Matthies indicated a confidential informant, identified in court documents as confidential informant B to protect their identity, had tipped him to a drug trafficking operation centred at a residence in Johnstone.
Members of the Red Deer RCMP spent time corroborating this tip from the informant to give weight to the allegation.
This investigation led to the arrest of Ahmed Nur, who is now on trial before Justice Charlene Anderson.
Matthies arrested Nur and read him his charter rights after a police surveillance team followed his vehicle as it left Red Deer heading to Edmonton to a storage locker.
Upon his arrest, Nur vomited. Nur is charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Nur’s defence counsel Paul Moreau of Edmonton, focused his cross-examination of Matthies on the circumstances of his client’s arrest and the grounds for it.
Matthies testified that a member of the surveillance team, following a blue GMC Sierra believed to be occupied by Nur, had observed Nur dropping a backpack off at a residence on Jordan Parkway on July 12, 2011. It was believed that backpack contained drugs, this was later confirmed when a search warrant was executed at the residence late that evening.
But before then, an extensive mobile surveillance was conducted following the suspect vehicle as it left Red Deer toward Edmonton. When Nur arrived in Edmonton at a storage locker facility at about 4 p.m. that day, the surveillance team surrounded the vehicle and arrested Nur as well as another occupant.
At issue in this trial, is whether or not Nur’s rights against unreasonable search or seizure were violated. A voir dire, a trial within the trial to determine if certain evidence is admissible, is underway. Testimony about his arrest, the search of the vehicle that uncovered $62,000 in cash and the subsequent search of the Jordan Parkway residence.
Matthies read Nur his rights, including the right to contact a lawyer prior to conducting interviews. However, Matthies also told police in Edmonton, who detained Nur after his arrest in their jurisdiction and police in Red Deer, where he was also held on July 12, 2011 to prevent Nur from making phone calls. Matthies said this was done in the interest of police officer safety to prevent Nur from warning anyone at residences that were soon to be the subject of search warrants.
A section 10 charter breach is not at issue in this trial, which does cover a person’s right to speak with counsel. Nur was allowed to call counsel after 1 a.m. on July 13, 2011.
Matthies was the exhibit custodian for the search warrant executed at 259 Jordan Parkway at 10:55 p.m. the same evening Nur was arrested. Among the items found at the residence was $6,000 in cash, cocaine, crack cocaine and computers. All of these items were entered into evidence.
Landlord Mike Ohlhauser testified that he had rented the property in August 2010 to a Candace Fryingpan. At the time another female and a child would be occupying the residence. Later in 2010 he inspected the home to ensure it was in good shape, he observed toys and girls items. He testified that it was in good order and didn’t feel the need to check up on the property regularly.
He returned in early 2011 and everything was in order. However, he had learned that a person he knew as “Isaac,” but identified in court as the accused Nur, had moved in. Ohlhauser only learned “Isaac” had moved in when he phoned to talk to Candace and “Isaac” answered the phone.
It wasn’t until the morning after the search warrant was executed that he learned what had happened. When he went through on July 13, 2011, he said he saw no children’s toys and little evidence of girls items. He did find a number of large clothing, sized XL or XXL. He put all of the contents of the residence not seized by police into a trailer and tried to notify the occupants of the items. But no one ever showed to claimt he items. He did return post-dated rent cheques to Candace at Nur’s first court appearance.
The trial resumes Wednesday with up to seven police witnesses scheduled to testify.