Two people from the Lower Mainland have been hit with drug trafficking charges in connection to a massive drug shipment that was seized before reaching the Port of Vancouver last year.
According to a release from B.C. RCMP, 132 kilograms of cocaine and 40,000 fentanyl pills were seized from both a shipment headed from Brazil to Vancouver and a Richmond apartment.
Yan Chau Lam from Richmond and Gertrude Cheong from Vancouver have both been charged with one count of conspiring to possess a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
Lam, 48, has also been charged with conspiring to import a controlled substance and three counts of unlawfully possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
The 17-month investigation began in February 2016, when RCMP were alerted by U.S. border patrol agents that a shipment bound for Vancouver had arrived at the Long Beach seaport in Los Angeles.
The border agents discovered three roller suitcases inside a refrigerated container of legal goods. Inside the suitcases were 110 packages of cocaine, totaling 132 kilograms.
“We believe they were ‘tailgating,'” B.C. RCMP organized crime chief Cal Chrustie said in the release. “That’s when drug traffickers piggyback a legitimate shipment of goods.”
RCMP then intercepted two alleged drug traffickers shortly after the discovery at the port. A search warrant was issued at a Richmond apartment, where police say “numerous exhibits” were found, including 40,000 fentanyl pills and a one-kilogram brick of methamphetamine.
Cheong, 43, and Lam have been released on bail and are scheduled to appear in a Richmond court on Oct. 31.
Cheong has faced drug trafficking-related charges before. In 2008, she was arrested along with a different partner in connection to the largest seizure of ecstasy in Manitoba’s history, after a traffic stop led to the discovery of about a million tablets worth $20 million.