Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Canadian “Papi” Post from Vancouver Sun
A Metro Vancouver man missing in Mexico has been identified as a target in an investigation linked to the E-Pirate money laundering case.
Postmedia has learned that Rachid Ali Jalifi, 36, was reported missing to police after disappearing on a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico in late July.
Global Affairs Canada official John Babcock confirmed in an email Friday “that a Canadian citizen has been reported as missing in Mexico.”
“Canadian consular officials at Global Affairs are providing consular assistance to the family and are in touch with local authorities to gather more information,” he said. “Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”
Jalifi is a suspected drug trafficker who had been under investigation in B.C. at the time he vanished.
His name also surfaced in the Vancouver police investigation dubbed Project Trunkline targeting suspected drug traffickers believed to be laundering their money through Silver International — the illegal bank at the centre of the E-Pirate investigation.
Two subjects of the Trunkline case, David Bjorn Johnson and Michael Reg Whieldon, visited Jalifi’s West Pender apartment building while under police surveillance in August 2015.
Johnson entered Jalifi’s suite and left a short time later carrying a “weighted Urban Fare shopping bag,” court documents obtained earlier by Postmedia say.
“Mr. Jalifi has been involved in previous investigations by VPD and RCMP including being stopped on Nov, 13, 2012 in a taxicab in Vancouver B.C. with a duffel bag containing three kilogram bricks of cocaine and based on my training and experience I believe that Mr. Jalifi is involved in trafficking controlled substances,” the documents say.
While several people were arrested and some civil forfeiture lawsuits were filed by the B.C. government, no one was charged after the Truckline investigation or in a related Vancouver police case called Project Tar.
Postmedia earlier reported that Project Tar target Richard Yen Fat Chiu was found stabbed and burned in Colombia in June. Chiu, a well-known B.C. drug trafficker for two decades, was also suspected of using Silver International to launder millions of drug proceeds.
Jalifi has no drug-related charges or convictions in B.C., but he was sentenced to 90 days in jail in 2014 for assault in Kelowna three years earlier. Jalifi attacked two men after making homophobic remarks directed at them outside a nightclub in the Okanagan city. He appealed his conviction twice but lost both times in 2015 and 2016.
He had better luck fighting the B.C. Director of Civil Forfeiture in court.
The director filed a suit seeking the forfeiture of expensive jewelry that police found in a Vancouver condo they claimed was Jalifi’s during a raid in July 2014, including an 18-karat gold Rolex Datona men’s watch containing 32 diamonds, a Breitling Super Avenger watch with 745 diamonds, an 80-cm necklace in 14-karat white gold containing 117 diamonds, and a pair of 18-karat white gold stuff earrings each containing 16 diamonds.
The government agency alleged “the jewelry is derived directly or indirectly from unlawful activity, including trafficking of controlled substances.”
To support his claim, the director said the RCMP was investigating Jalifi for his link to “street-level drug trafficking” in 2013 and 2014 and executed the search warrant at the suite linked to him. Officers found a small amount of cocaine, MDMA pills, two fentanyl pills, one oxycontin pill, a scale with cocaine residue, shell casings for two types of firearms, seven BlackBerrys and other phones.
But Jalifi’s lawyer said his client did not live at the suite in question and “denies the jewelry was derived directly or indirectly from unlawful activity.”
He also said that Jalifi’s Charter rights were violated during the police investigation and that “it is clearly not in the interests of justice to permit forfeiture of the jewelry in whole or in part.”
In August 2017, there was a consent order to dismiss the director’s lawsuit and the jewelry was returned to Jalifi.