B.C. Supreme Court has ordered one man extradited to the United States to stand trial for alleged cocaine trafficking but a U.S. request for another man has been denied.
Tenny Guon Lim and Dario Baruca were sought for alleged conduct amounting to the Canadian-equivalent offence of conspiracy to traffic in a controlled drug.
Justice Jeanne Watchuk said Lim is the alleged leader of a cross-border drug trafficking organization that trafficked cocaine and MDMA (ecstacy) between Canada and the United States.
She said the U.S. alleges the organization would arrange for couriers to deliver MDMA to associates in Los Angeles and/or pick up cocaine that U.S.-based associates had sourced from Mexico.
U.S. investigators were able to infiltrate the crime group by securing the cooperation of two co-conspirators turned cooperating witness.
Baruca is alleged to have conspired to traffic cocaine with an unidentified associate of the organization and Lim, known by the name “Orange Tang”.
Watchuk said Orange Tang discussed drug trafficking with an undercover Los Angeles Police Department officer posing as an associate of one cooperating witness with connections to cocaine suppliers.
The judge said during these discussions, Orange Tang told an officer to call him; however, when the officer called the number Orange Tang provided, a man using the name “Ventura” answered the phone.
The officer then spoke with Ventura about a cocaine trafficking deal.
Watchuck said Ventura was a nickname associated with Baruca.
The U.S. submitted that Baruca and Lim’s membership in one or more drug-trafficking conspiracies can be reasonably inferred from its evidence.
The court heard there had been discussions about opening drug transportation lines in Australia and Europe.
Watchuck said the evidence for the committal hearing was largely circumstantial.
“Here, most of the evidence consists of encrypted messages and recorded phone calls regarding the trafficking of cocaine and MDMA,” she said.
Watchuk said there was evidence admissible of Lim’s conduct that, had it occurred in Canada, would justify a conspiracy-to-traffic-drugs trial.
As such, she committed him to custody for extradition.
Lim has various options of appeal before any deportation takes place.
She found that standard for committal was not met with Baruca.
A Dario Antonio Baruca had been facing multiple drug trafficking charges in Vancouver Provincial Court but a stay of proceedings was entered April 22.