West Vancouver man charged in the US with dark web fentanyl sales

RCMP says it linked shipments to West Van home and made arrests and seized drugs and evidence

Article content

A West Vancouver man and his British associate have been charged in Georgia with fentanyl trafficking, money laundering and other counts related to the 2017 overdose deaths of two friends who were in the US navy.

advertisement 2

Article content

And the RCMP in BC says it played a key role in the international investigation.

Thomas Michael Federuik, 59, was picked up on a provisional arrest warrant on May 24, the RCMP said in a news release. He has already made two appearances in BC Supreme Court.

And Paul Anthony Nicholls, who was deported from BC in 2017, was arrested in Surrey, England, in the same case.

US Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Jerrell, 25, was found dead at a home in Kingsland, Georgia, on Oct. 11, 2017. Four days later, his close friend, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ty Bell, 26, was found dead in the same house. Fentanyl that had been mailed from Canada killed both of them.

Petty Officer Ty Bell, died of a fentanyl overdose in October 2017 in Georgia.  The drugs allegedly were sold by a Lower Mainland man on the dark web.
Petty Officer Ty Bell, died of a fentanyl overdose in October 2017 in Georgia. The drugs allegedly were sold by a Lower Mainland man on the dark web.

Shortly afterwards, the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime unit in BC launched a joint organized crime investigation with American authorities into an alleged international dark web drug trafficking vendor named Canada1.

advertisement 3

Article content

Cpl. Arash Seyed said Thursday that RCMP linked Canada1 to a West Van home and officers intercepted several packages that were being shipped by Canada1, and determined the content to be fentanyl.

Federuik and Nicholls, 44, were first arrested at the West Van house in March 2018, Seyed said.

Police “seized a large quantity of fentanyl,” Seyed said. “Investigators also discovered mail tracking slips that coincided with the fentanyl packaging material found by US authorities. Having overstayed his visa, Nicholls was immediately deported to the UK, while the investigation continued.”

The US indictment alleges that Federuik and Nicholls conspired to import drugs from several countries including China and Hungary, then distributed those drugs over the dark web using business names including “East Van Eco Tours” and “Bridge City Consulting LLP.” Neither company is registered in BC

advertisement 4

Article content

The indictment, a copy of which was obtained by Postmedia, also alleges that a shipment of those drugs packaged by the conspirators traveled from Canada to Kingsland, Georgia, resulting in the deaths of the two navy petty officers.

The two accused also attempted “to conduct financial transactions knowing that the property involved in the financial transactions represented the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, that is, importation and distribution of controlled substances,” the indictment said.

The pair “did use virtual currency systems aka cryptocurrency, including, but not limited to, Bitcoin as well as United States and Canadian currency in the drug transactions,” it also said.

In February 1998, Federuik was charged with possession of a counterfeiting instrument in Burnaby. There was no outcome of the case was available in the provincial court data base. In 2011, he was handed a two-year conditional sentence for convictions of theft of something valued at over $5,000 and fraud. He was also ordered to pay $97,000 restitution.

advertisement 5

Article content

He also has an on-going lawsuit against a former employee for wrongful dismissal from his job as a construction site supervisor.

Seyed said “the dark web continues to harbor toxic opioid traffickers.” The unit’s cybercrime operations group “continues to relentlessly pursue and dismantle toxic drug pipelines that operate within the digital maze of anonymity.”

Supt. Richard Bergevin, who heads federal policing in BC, said “every single life claimed by the toxic opioid crisis leaves an untold number of loved ones in perpetual grief and anguish.”

“We share their pain, and remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting communities within and beyond our borders from the deadly pipeline of toxic opioids,” he said.



More news, fewer ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.

advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user follows comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment