Man charged in large Kelowna drug bust didn't show up to court

Alleged trafficker a no-show

The five men charged in a three-year-old drug trafficking investigation, allegedly tied to the Red Scorpions gang, had their first appearance in Kelowna court earlier this week, but one of them never showed up.

Last month, drugs and weapons charges were laid against five men, following a lengthy police investigation targeting the Red Scorpions gang in Kelowna, dating back to 2017. All five men were never taken into custody, but were given notices to appear in court on Nov. 24.

On Tuesday, 31-year-old Jonathan Sierra, 27-year-old Nickolas Parisee and 28-year-old Travis Cumming made their first appearance in Kelowna court, while 28-year-old Benjamin Bridger's lawyer showed up in his place. All of their cases were adjourned to Dec. 17.

Jason Keehn, 35, did not show up for his first appearance though and a warrant was issued for Keehn's arrest

Of the five men involved, Keehn faces the most charges – two counts of trafficking drugs, four counts of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, five counts of incorrect storage of firearms and five counts of possessing firearms without a licence.

Keehn has no prior criminal record in B.C., according to Court Services Online.

The lengthy police investigation, named Project E-Precedent, involved 15 search warrants on homes and an office building, and police said it led to the seizure of 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil, 3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, as well as GHB, ecstasy, and other pharmaceutical drugs.

Police said they also seized a Mac-10 sub-machine gun, two semi-automatic 9-mm handguns, a .45-caliber handgun, a .38-caliber handgun, as well as other semi-automatic rifles and long guns and over $130,000 in Canadian cash.

“This investigation was extremely complex and demanding,” Cpl. Jeff Carroll of the Kelowna RCMP said last month. “These seizures no doubt disrupted the drug trade in the area and were a blow against a dangerous criminal element in our community.”

The Red Scorpions most notable tie to Kelowna was the 2011 killing of one of the gang's leaders, Jonathan Bacon, outside of the Delta Grand Hotel. After a lengthy trial with many delays, three men eventually pleaded guilty to their involvement in the high-profile gang killing.

More Kelowna News